Red Bull’s Helmut Marko and Honda motorsport boss Masahi Yamamoto met in Baku on Saturday to kick start talks about a potential engine deal for the Milton Keynes-based squad in 2019.
Red Bull is currently contracted to Renault, its power unit supplier since 2007, but the working relationship between the two partners has been a difficult one for the past few years following periods of under-performance and unreliability for the French manufacturer units.
The inconsistent performance prompted Red Bull to contract its junior team Toro Rosso to Honda as a means of assessing the Japanese manufacturer and providing itself with a second engine option for the future in addition to Renault.
Preliminary talks over a potential 2019 deal were initiated last weekend in Azerbaijan.
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“Because it was the very first meeting, we discussed the conditions of both sides, what do we expect of each other,” Yamamoto told Formula 1’s official website.
“It was the first discussion. Yes, it was positive. We do believe we were both satisfied. There’s a good relationship between us.
“However, it’s the first time we have an official meeting. It’s the starting point for a potential future.”
Theoretically, the FIA’s sporting regulations compel manufacturers to inform the governing body by mid-May which teams they shall supply next season. However, Red Bull’s Christian Horner recently said the team’s own deadline shall likely be extended to the end of July.
“We have the obligation to present the documents on the 15 May to the FIA,” confirmed Yamamoto.
“It’s something we are starting to discuss now and it has to be smooth between Honda and Red Bull.
“I want to use the time we have left to discuss with the Honda board members before I take the feedback back to Red Bull to take the next steps.
“When we decided to come back to F1, the plan was not to just stick with one team but work with multiple teams.
“The board members are aware of discussions and there is a big respect for the relationship [with the Red Bull organisation].”
Yamamoto underlined the fact that any subsequent deal with Red Bull would only run for the 2019 and 2020 season as Formula 1 has yet to finalise the specifics of the sport’s engine rules from 2021.
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