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2017 F1

Red Bull chief to visit Honda HQ after Malaysia

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Dr Helmut Marko will head to Honda’s Japanese headquarters after the Malaysian grand prix.

The Red Bull chief was part of the negotiations that sees axed McLaren partner Honda switch to the energy drink company’s junior team Toro Rosso next year.

There are sceptics in the paddock who question the move.

“If Honda cannot make significant progress in three years, they never will,” Christian Danner, a former driver, is quoted by Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

But Red Bull’s senior team is set to split with Renault after next year, and therefore sees Honda as a potential partner for 2019.

Marko sounds optimistic.

“What we know from Honda shows that things are going up,” he said ahead of his trip to Japan early next week.

“The technical and financial resources are there, as is the ambition to improve through this new start.”

Salzburger quoted an unnamed ‘Honda F1 driver’ as saying he is also hopeful the Japanese marque is improving.

“Honda will increase its F1 budget by 50 per cent for 2018,” he said. “It is the funds freed up by the McLaren sponsorship.”

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