Toro Rosso, Honda deny holding official F1 engine talks

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Formula 1 bosses from both Toro Rosso and Honda have denied holding any official talks regarding an engine supply for 2018 despite reports suggesting a deal was being discussed.

Honda returned to F1 as an engine supplier in 2015 with McLaren, but has struggled to find either performance or reliability with its power unit, prompting the British team to consider cutting ties for 2018.

Sauber had been set to work with Honda in 2018, only for the deal to be cancelled, making Toro Rosso a possible option as the Japanese manufacturer pushed to retain a foothold in F1.

Speaking at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Toro Rosso F1 chief Franz Tost and Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa both denied talks taking place.

“We don’t have an official conversation about that,” Hasegawa said.

“Although Mr. Yamamoto visited Dr. Marko, because we need to discuss about Super Formula, the Japanese formula series, and we have Pierre Gasly the Red Bull young driver.

“We had some communication with him, but other than that, the Formula 1 engine supply, we didn’t have an actual conversation.”

Tost added: “Hasegawa-san has just answered. There has never an official negotiation or talks between Honda and Toro Rosso.”

McLaren executive Zak Brown said he would have blessed a Honda deal for Toro Rosso in 2018, and also claimed that Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner had asked if the team would be able to produce a gearbox for 2018.

“We did bless the Sauber arrangement which we were official asked to do and in fact started to get to work on a gearbox,” Brown said, the Sauber deal being cancelled after a change in management.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to disclose any conversations we’ve had. What I would say is we would be very supportive of Honda having a relationship with Toro Rosso and have been asked by Christian if we would be in a position to help with a gearbox if asked.

“So I think that’s about as far as I will go on sharing any conversations.”

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.