April 30, 2018 / 1:03 PM / in 7 months

Motor racing: Honda start talks with Red Bull over 2019 engine supply

BAKU (Reuters) - Honda have had “positive” first talks with former world champions Red Bull about a possible supply of Formula One engines from next season, the Japanese company’s motorsport head has said.

The Honda booth displays the company logo at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

Honda are powering the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso team this year after a failed three-year partnership with McLaren was terminated at the end of 2017.

Red Bull are currently using Renault engines, renamed Tag Heuer, but have a rocky relationship with the French manufacturer despite winning four successive drivers’ and constructors’ titles with them between 2010-13.

“Because it was the very first meeting, we discussed the conditions of both sides, what do we expect of each other,” Honda’s Masahi Yamamoto told the official formula1.com website at the weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“It was positive. We do believe we were both satisfied. There’s a good relationship between us. However, it’s the first time we have an official meeting. It’s the starting point for a potential future,” he added.

Yamamoto said the deadline for engine manufacturers to present documents to the governing FIA about which teams they are supplying was May 15 and discussions on that were ongoing.

“It’s something we are starting to discuss now and it has to be smooth between Honda and Red Bull,” he added.

“I want to use the time we have left to discuss with the Honda board members before I take the feedback back to Red Bull to take the next steps.”

Toro Rosso are Honda’s only current partners but Yamamoto said the car maker’s plan was always to work with multiple teams.

“The board members are aware of discussions and there is a big respect for the relationship (with Red Bull),” he said.

Red Bull are winners this season, with Daniel Riccciardo in China. The Australian collided with Dutch team mate Max Verstappen in Baku.

Honda have, meanwhile, shown improved reliability and performance with Toro Rosso.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond

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