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Honda anticipating Toro Rosso partnership to be "more equal" than McLaren

Written by  Dec 04, 2017

Honda is expecting a greater say in their partnership with Toro Rosso than during the three years with McLaren which ultimately ended in failure and a split at the end of the recently concluded season.

The junior Red Bull team will be the sole outfit using the Japanese manufacturers in 2018 and is hoping the progress made by Honda in the second half of this year, both on reliability and performance, will continue next year.

A partnership which allows Honda a little more freedom in the developmental direction of the car could be one area that brings further progress, compared to the limitations put on them by McLaren.

"We've been the ones making the majority of requests [to Toro Rosso] so far," F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa said of the early work going on with their new partner on the Honda website. "But it's fair to say this will be a more equal partnership than it was with McLaren in terms of leadership and that's not just because of the size of the team.

"Obviously Honda as a company is huge but we had little recent F1 experience – so from that point of view McLaren was still leading us, that won't be the same with Toro Rosso."

Hasegawa also talked about some of the challenges his team are facing as they adapt to working with the Faenza-based team.

"We are working quickly to swap teams. We have to prepare things before February so it will be a very busy winter,” he explained.

"The installation is the biggest job for us, to get the engine to fit the chassis. We need to make many modifications, which is a big job, especially in this limited amount of time but Honda and Toro Rosso – from both sides – are doing a very good job.”

It was similar changes which resulted in the problems which impacted McLaren so hard in 2017, but the Honda boss is confident the trend is only upwards in terms of progress.

"Development is ongoing on the power unit,” Hasegawa said. “It will remain the same power unit concept from this year, so we are able to use the current one as the starting point.

"We only know things as the McLaren-Honda way, but this will be another opportunity to expand our understanding and experience of a different way of working."

Though there may not be the expectation to be competing at the front, as there was with McLaren, the Honda F1 boss insists that does not change their approach in any way.

"People tell me we'll have much less pressure at Toro Rosso but I don't think that's true," he claimed. "In my mind, we simply need to prepare the best engine and nothing is going to slow that down."

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