As drivers who have a 1981 Renault Alliance parked in the drive, since 1982, and still waiting for a replacement headlamp, we were not at all surprised to learn that Team Red Bull is dropping Renault in favour of Honda power plants for it F1 entries in 2019 and 2020.
We reached out to Renault for a comment, but as expected, we learned that everyone was either on holiday, or working on our headlamp issue.
If Daniel Riccardo hangs with the team beyond this season, he may soon have a competitive racing car, as opposed to one where he hangs on for dear life and hopes that bad fortune of one kind or another strikes the Mercedes and Ferraris.
In the interest of objectivity, Renault and Red Bull had a successful partnership that produced a total of either drivers’ or constructors’ championships, but that was then and this is now.
It requires no expertise whatsoever to gauge the reliability edge Honda enjoys, at least so far as everyday drivers are concerned and it is logical to assume that same expertise transfers to racing engines.
Ricciardo may or may not be there with Red Bull in 2019, but young Max Verstappen, a driver with obvious skills, is with the team for at least another two years.
Christian Horner, in announcing the switch, told reporters, “This multi-year agreement with Honda signals the start of an exciting new phase in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s efforts to compete not just for grand prix wins but for what is always our goal — championship titles. We have always taken decisions such as this dispassionately and with only one criteria in mind — do we believe the outcome will allow us to compete at a higher level. After careful consideration and evaluation we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the team.”
Team McLaren might not necessarily agree with Horner. They blame Honda for their spate of poor results, even paying through the nose to get out from under their contract with Honda.
They switched to Renault, only to discover what most of us know instinctively about Hondas: At least the bloody things start when you turn the key.