OWNER DIETRICH MATESCHITZ IS AN IMPATIENT MAN. HE IS ALREADY NOT ENAMOURED OF THE CURRENT ENGINES.
Could this threaten Red Bull’s future in the sport? Of course, Honda might improve. Operations officer Katsuhide Moriyama claimed that their target with Toro Rosso was “to fight for the top three at the front of the grid”. This caused widespread mirth. One senior figure said: “Toro Rosso wouldn’t be in the top three with a Mercedes.” Moriyama’s remark is seen as reflective of Honda’s failure to understand the size of the task facing them.
The complexity of the hybrid engines isn’t helping. It’s no accident that Honda’s updates to the internal combustion engine is often followed by the failure of a part of the hybrid system, as happened to Stoffel Vandoorne at Spa.
Honda are a big company, staffed by clever engineers, but recovery will take time. Insiders say that, realistically, 2019 is the first hope for anything close to competitiveness. And even then there are no guarantees.