Red Bull drop Renault for Honda from 2019

Formula One team end long-term engine deal in bid for improved performance.

Red Bull drop Renault for Honda from 2019

Getty Images

The Red Bull Formula One team have announced that they will split with Renault at the end of this season and switch to Honda engines for the next two years.

The move brings to an end a 12-year partnership during which the UK-based motorsport outfit and their French engine supplier won four world title doubles between 2010 and 2013.

The relationship has been strained in recent years following the introduction of turbo hybrid engines in 2014 which has seen Red Bull fall behind Mercedes and Ferrari.

Red Bull wanted to put off a decision about their new engine supply deal until July’s Austrian Grand Prix as they sought to gather data to compare Renault and Honda’s latest specifications, but Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said last week that his company wanted a concrete verdict before Sunday’s race in France.

Red Bull, currently third in Formula One’s constructors’ championship, said that they ultimately decided that Japanese brand Honda will be more competitive than Renault for the 2019 and 2020 campaigns.

"This multi-year agreement with Honda signals the start of an exciting new phase in Red Bull Racing's efforts to compete not just for Grand Prix wins but for what is always our goal - championship titles,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

"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."

The deal means that Honda will supply engines to both Red Bull teams from next year, having already started a partnership with junior outfit Toro Rosso this season.

“Having two teams means we can access twice as much data as previously,” said Honda president Takahiro Hachigo. "We believe that working with both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing will allow us to get closer to our goal of winning races and championships, building two strong partnerships.

"Discussions proceeded very quickly, thanks to Red Bull's open and respectful attitude towards Honda, leading to a deal that is fair and equitable for all parties."

The move comes just nine months after McLaren, another Formula One team, opted to prematurely end their partnership with Honda due to regular engine failures, choosing instead to team up with Renault for a reported US$100 million net loss. However, McLaren’s decision has since been questioned given that their performance has failed to markedly improve this season.