Honda has set its sights on breaking into Formula 1’s top three in 2018 after agreeing an engine partnership with Scuderia Toro Rosso from next season.
After three difficult years working together, McLaren and Honda announced on Friday they would be parting company at the end of the season by mutual consent.
Honda confirmed a new multi-year deal with Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s B-team, with the existing Renault supply used by the outfit shifting to McLaren.
McLaren currently sitting ninth in the constructors’ championship with just three points finishes to its name, but Honda believes it can vault up the order with Toro Rosso next year, ambitiously targeting a breach of the top three positions.
“It is my pleasure that we can start a new relationship with Toro Rosso, a team with a very youthful energy and a history of nuturing the stars of the future,” Honda chief officer of brand and communications Katushide Moriyama said.
“It is our goal to overcome this tough challenge and get back to fighting with the front-runners of the sport. Our spirit, Honda’s spirit, is going to come back.
“For next year, our goal is to fight for the top three at the front of the grid.”
Despite securing a works engine deal for next year, Toro Rosso F1 chief Franz Tost was more reserved about his team’s chances next year given its resources and facilities compared to the sport’s bigger players.
“Toro Rosso is not Ferrari or Mercedes. We have another infrastructure,” Tost said.
“But I can promise you that we, without our possibilities, will do the best possible job and then the rest we will see. It is not always and only the money which is decisive for the success.
“I hope at Toro Rosso we will work efficiently, because this is our slogan, and to get the most out of the package. The future will show.
“If necessary, then of course, maybe we will bring in more people, increase the infrastucture, whatever is necessary to have the success that Honda wishes.
“It is too early a sstage to talk about the details of the infrastructure. But I am convinced we are in a position to fight successfully within the midfield or the forward part of the midfield.”