Thuesday, 13 march 2018, 05:18 , by Martin Macdonald
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has insisted that the team will not be forced into making an early decision on their engine supplier for the 2019 campaign. Renault, their current suppliers, want an answer by May as to what their customer's intentions are, but Horner thinks that is too soon.
Red Bull and Renault have clashed at times in the past, with the former sometimes unhappy at the performance of the power units they were receiving from the French manufacturer. However, Red Bull made steps forward in performance last year, closing the gap to the top two teams in Mercedes and Ferrari.
The current deal with Renault runs out at the end of 2018, and Horner wants to wait until the summer before concluding any extension or taking on another provider.
“What we have talked about is something else: May is when you have to give an indication to the FIA, but that does not mean a commitment,” the Red Bull team boss told El Confidencial.
“It will be decided at the end of the summer. That’s the realistic timing of when the decisions have to be made.”
If Red Bull decide not to renew with Renault, the most likely scenario would be striking a deal with Honda who already provide power units to Red Bull's junior team, Toro Rosso.
Honda's reputation has taken a knock in recent seasons due to a troubling period in a partnership with McLaren, who famously ditched them in favour of Renault during the summer. However, over pre-season, Honda's parts have served Toro Rosso well and Horner is aware of their improvements.
“Honda has had a fantastic start with Toro Rosso,” Horner said.
“Obviously, we are in a good position to keep an eye on their progress in the first half of the year, and we are going to follow it with great interest.”