Reports earlier this week suggested that Red Bull had given Honda the green light to go ahead with even minor engine upgrades during the remaining races for the season, even if it meant grid penalties for Toro Rosso drivers.
The rumours would have hit Toro Rosso hard, as they would have been aiming to do well in the constructor’s championship, by getting some points in the next few races.
Hartley and Gasly both have already been dealt with grid penalties, and any engine changes now would result in a further setback for the duo and for the team.
Christian Horner has confirmed that whilst Red Bull will want Honda to trial out the upgrades during a race scenario, all such decisions would be made keeping in mind Toro Rosso’s chances and state in the constructor’s championship.
“I don’t think we’ll be pushing them to sacrifice Toro Rosso.
“But obviously there are opportunities to learn for the benefit of the group, which ultimately Toro Rosso will benefit from as well.
“That’s obviously something that remains open, but of course Toro Rosso have got their own fight with the constructors they’re competing with, that obviously has significant value to them.” Horner said.
It was the upgrade before the Canadian GP that helped Honda secure the Red Bull deal. However, the Honda powered Toro Rosso has had a few reliability issues thereafter, presenting a few concerns for Red Bull going forward.
However, Horner conceded those issues to the different tracks and not necessarily due to an issue with the Honda engine.
“From what we saw, certainly the last couple of samples – Austria and Silverstone – you can see that the performance of the engine is pretty close to where we currently are with our current supplier,” said Horner.
“Of course, Toro Rosso have been running varying amounts of downforce at the past couple of venues.
“It feels like Honda are on the right trajectory. They seem to have the right goals and targets, and we’re looking forward to working with them in a much more collaborative manner as we move into this new relationship.”