Red Bull are “close” to agreeing a deal with Honda which will see them continue to use the Japanese automaker’s power units even after they exit Formula One at the end of 2021, according to Dr Helmut Marko, a senior team advisor.
Speaking earlier this week, Dr Marko said they are expecting the Honda power unit to be considerably more competitive next season and could potentially give them a shot at taking the fight to Mercedes.
“The Honda engine will gain significantly in power,” Marko said.
“Mercedes has durability problems, they need to look at fixing the MGU-K errors. And what Honda has promised us is also coming. We also see a significant gain in driveability and clipping.
“As for the negotiations, it’s a complex topic, but I would say we are 85%/90% close to the target. Honda has been very helpful.
“This means that we can continue to use the engine, also with technical help from Honda. But we need a freeze on development.
“The development is the most expensive thing and needs technical capacities that we cannot afford in this form. But the rest looks good. We might be able to finalise it by the end of the year or shortly into the new year,” the Austrian added.
Dr Marko also commented on the future of Red Bull’s driver programme following criticism over the inability of some of its drivers – namely Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon – to perform in the second seat alongside Max Verstappen.
He defended the programme and said Red Bull remains committed to identifying and developing talent which it can bring into F1, as it has been doing for over a decade, despite them recently signing Sergio Perez for 2021.
“We brought a very fast Japanese driver [Yuki Tsunoda] into F1 after I think 10 years,” Marko said, referencing the Japanese F2 driver’s move to Scuderia AlphaTauri next season.
“We have Juri Vips, Lawson and Daruvala who are absolutely capable of moving up to F1 if they perform well in F2,” he added.