Scuderia Toro Rosso will link up with Japanese manufacturer Honda in Formula 1 next season after signing a multi-year deal, announced on Friday in Singapore.
After returning to F1 as an engine manufacturer in 2015, Honda has endured three difficult years exclusively supplying McLaren, with the British team opting to cut ties at the end of the current season.
Eager to remain in the sport, a deal was struck for Honda to work with Toro Rosso from 2018, with the team’s existing Renault engine supply moving in the opposite direction to McLaren.
The deal was confirmed shortly after first practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, ending months of speculation about Honda’s future in the sport.
“Scuderia Toro Rosso is pleased to announce that it has reached a multi-year agreement with Honda Motor Co. Ltd. to run Honda power units starting from the 2018 Formula 1 season,” a statement from Toro Rosso reads, with confirmation of Renault’s departure coming earlier in the day.
“Everyone in our team is very much looking forward to working with Honda,” Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said.
“Ever since its founder Soichiro Honda entered his motorcycles in events, racing has always been a central part of the company’s ethos. It’s a very exciting challenge and I hope that both parties will gain a great deal from it as we develop together.
“Honda has a long history in Formula 1, dating back to 1964 when it first entered the sport with its own team and, as an engine supplier it has taken five drivers’ world championship titles and six constructors’.
“This heritage, together with the full confidence that we have in Honda’s capabilities to succeed, make me strongly believe that we will achieve a fruitful future together.”
Honda president and representative director Takahiro Hachigo added: “Toro Rosso is an experienced team with a youthful energy and history of nurturing the stars of the future.
“Everyone at Honda is looking forward to working with Toro Rosso, and we are excited to start this new chapter in our Formula 1 journey with them. I would like to express our appreciation to Liberty Media and the FIA for their cooperation toward the realization of this partnership.
“Honda and Toro Rosso will work as one team to strive for progress and a successful future together. We appreciate the support of our fans as we begin this challenge.”
The Toro Rosso-Honda deal is also shaping up to be a pre-cursor for a possible deal with the senior Red Bull team in 2019, with speculation emerging in Singapore that Renault is looking to end its contract at the end of next season.