Red Bull’s third-place finish in Australia during Formula One’s opening race two weekends ago, marked Honda’s first podium since it rejoined the grid back in 2015.
In an interview with Autosport in Melbourne, Honda F1 boss Masashi Yamamoto stated that “this is a very important year for us because we’ve started with two teams for the first time in the hybrid era. Now we have a situation that we can try to express how Honda tries to win.”
“We hope to make it come true, maybe by around the summer. Hopefully, we wish to. We have now a chance to show our philosophy towards winning.”
Since Red Bull managed to win last year’s Monaco Grand Prix using Renault power, it’s likely that that very same race will represent their best chance at coming in first this year as well. Other strong opportunities include this weekend’s upcoming race in Bahrain, where a Honda-powered Toro Rosso secured fourth place in 2018, but also the Hungarian Grand Prix, which is the final race before the summer break.
Yamamoto went on to add that Honda hasn’t yet “reached the level of Ferrari and Mercedes as a PU [power unit]. We have to go beyond [the current level].”
Aside from trying to lead Red Bull to the front of the pack, Honda also hopes to help Toro Rosso establish itself at the front of the midfield.
“We have a different aim between the two teams,” explained Yamamoto. “In terms of Red Bull, they are a top team: good drivers, management and chassis. [So] we have to make a good engine as Honda. If we can do that, we think we can walk the path towards winning with Red Bull. That’s what we have to do.”
“In terms of Toro Ross, we have established a relationship last year. We think we are on the way of improving. Something like a podium, or closer to those positions with Toro Rosso, we can show our progress.”
The upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, March 31st.