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How Toro Rosso sacrifice led to Red Bull-Honda dominance

The Japanese manufacturer has helped drive Red Bull to major F1 success.

Verstappen Red Bull Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost has revealed the extent he and Honda were willing to go to in order to develop a competitive F1 power unit.

The Japanese manufacturer joined what was then Toro Rosso after an acrimonious split from McLaren following a disastrous return to the sport.

Toro Rosso's partnership with Honda was preparation for what has been a major success story with Red Bull, with championships won in each of the past three seasons.

In a Honda YouTube video, Tost - who retires at the end of the season - explained how he always had faith in a resurgence from the manufacturer.

“From 2014 onwards, I always kept in contact with Honda,” he said.

“Of course, they had a difficult time together with McLaren, but I was 100% convinced that with good cooperation you can win with Honda.

“When we decided in 2017 to change to Honda, I know that many people in the paddock didn’t believe this decision.

"They said personally to me: ‘How can you decide to work together with this company? This will bring your team into big difficulties' and I just said to them ‘please, ask me in five years, then we will see what’s going on’ and we had from 2017 onwards fantastic cooperation with Honda.

“We had a very open business relationship and on the technical side there was a real, really cooperative collaboration between Honda and Toro Rosso in those days.

"Many times engineers came here to Japan, to Sakura, the other way round as well. Honda engineers came to Faenza. And this good cooperation, and this good communication between both parties ended in winning the championship and winning races.”

Back of the grid

Engine development was not frozen during the early years of the partnership, allowing continuous improvements to be made to what was a struggling power unit.

“I remember I said ‘please bring to every race a new specification, a new upgrade, it doesn’t matter if we have to start from the back’," revealed Tost.

“We nearly got to every race with a new upgrade, which meant we had to start from the back, but this was calculated and this development speed during 2018 made it possible to have such a good power unit then provided to the teams, to Red Bull Racing and to Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2019 and 2020.”

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