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.”