Christian Horner hails Honda chassis/engine installation as 'best ever'

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes the chassis/engine integration Red Bull has for 2019 is “probably the best one we’ve ever had”, having aligned itself with Honda.

Red Bull spent the previous 12 years with Renault but its relationship fractured amid the French marque’s inability to sustain a regular challenge against Mercedes and Ferrari.

Red Bull has joined Toro Rosso in taking on Honda as a partner, having been impressed by the company’s gains with its junior team through the course of 2018.

“Ultimately power is a dominating factor but the installation of this engine into this chassis is probably the best one we’ve ever had,” he said.

“When you look how neatly integrated it is into the chassis it really is a thing of beauty and I think the whole engineering team, collectively with Honda, having done a great job installing what looks like a Swiss clock into the back of our chassis.

“I think Honda has had a good winter and certainly they are reducing that gap significantly but of course what you don’t know is what the others have done.

“If [the others] have found another 50kw then we’ve got a big issue.

“We’ve been very impressed by the approach of Honda and the progress that they’ve made.

“For us, it’s a vital piece of the jigsaw to get us into a competitive position not just for this year but for next year and potentially beyond.”

Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost suggested earlier on Monday that Red Bill would be in a position to triumph in 2019 but Horner downplayed setting time-related targets.

“It is great to have that enthusiasm and optimism that Franz has shown and we are excited to be working with Honda in what is a true partnership as opposed to a customer-supplier relationship,” he said.

“We are already feeling the benefit of that so it is not going to be a fast process, there is no silver bullet, and I think as the organisations learn more about each other and their strengths and relative weaknesses it is something that will grow over a period of time but we are not putting any timescale on that.”