Red Bull ‘grateful’ for McLaren’s Honda veto

Date published: April 6 2017

As McLaren-Honda’s woes continue, Helmut Marko is “really grateful” that former McLaren boss Ron Dennis put an end to Red Bull’s plans of switching to Honda power.

Frustrated with their engine partner Renault back in 2015, Red Bull tried to do a deal with Honda.

That was quashed by McLaren as the Woking team had the power to veto any deal that Honda considered doing with a second team.

Red Bull therefore stuck with Renault, running TAG Heuer-branded engines, and benefitted as the French manufacturer made massive gains throughout 2016 and into this year’s campaign.

In sharp contrast, Honda may have actually taken a step backwards.

“I have to say for the first time: I am really grateful to Ron Dennis for having vetoed our Honda ambitions, otherwise we might have Honda engines,” Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport chief, told motorsport-total.com.

“The fact that Honda is taking so long (to improve) is surprising. I would never have believed it.”

Marko, though, does concedes that the Renault power unit is still not the pick of the bunch.

“Unfortunately, we are currently number three in all of these areas, which makes it difficult,” he said referring to ‘top performance, energy use, consumption and drivability’.

“The Mercedes package is simply superior in all areas, only in the top performance is Ferrari close. They [Mercedes] still hit five tenths – even if Lauda says there are only three.”