Honda in talks to supply Toro Rosso from 2018?

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A week after Sauber cancelled an engine supply deal with Honda for 2018, Toro Rosso has emerged as an alternative for the Japanese manufacturer with talks reportedly underway.

The junior Red Bull team has been changing between Ferrari and Renault in recent years, rejoining with the latter for this season on a multi-year deal. However, with bosses still lack satisfaction with the French supplier as their unit continues to fall short of Ferrari and Mercedes. 

Honda too is well behind both on performance and reliability compared to their rivals but there is a feeling longer-term they could get it together.

Part of their development plan, however, is to find a first customer team with General Manager Masahi Yamamoto revealing: "We are talking to teams - other than works outfits like Ferrari and Mercedes - to see if there is an opportunity to do a customer supply deal.

"Meeting the schedule to achieve this for next year will be tough, but we still try to look for the opportunity to do so in 2018.

"If we don't have a customer team, we want to continue with McLaren and then take on a customer team in addition for 2019."

That final point would seem more in line with a potential Toro Rosso deal as they have a contract in place with the Renault for next year and, according to Motorsport.com, a meeting between Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko and Honda's Yamamoto took place earlier this week.

Other members are remaining quiet, however, with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner saying: "I'm not going to comment on rumours or ask about the source of your information," he said. "I think there's an awful lot of rumours about Honda at the moment, but I have nothing to say."

Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz also told Spain's Marca: "It is a rumour and so I will not comment. If it happens I will give my opinion without any problem."

A final theory is a Honda deal with Toro Rosso could open a Renault spot for McLaren as they consider their future options, but Yamamoto insists a continuation of the once great partnership remains their hope.

"Right now, we believe we are working in the same direction as McLaren," he said. "We feel McLaren is still committed to making this project work.

"It's not that we can't provide a good power unit, it's that we can't reach the expectations that were originally set for the partnership yet."

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