Honda motorsports general manager Masahi Yamamoto accepts its new partnership with Red Bull brings “huge pressure and responsibility for us” as he sets an initial target of matching the team’s current race-winning performance levels.

Following the official confirmation of Red Bull’s switch to Honda engines from 2019, the Japanese manufacturer will expand its Formula 1 operations to two teams having secured a deal to supply engines to Toro Rosso this year after splitting from McLaren.

Yamamoto is relishing the opportunity to effectively double its commitments, while hoping the shared knowledge between two teams can step up its development rate, as it looks to close the performance gap to its power unit rivals.

The Honda boss accepts the heightened expectations supplying Red Bull, who secured four consecutive F1 world drivers’ and constructors’ titles between 2010 and 2013 with Renault, and has set the target of ensuring the Milton Keynes-based squad’s performance levels do not drop from its current capabilities this year.

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In the opening seven rounds of the 2018 F1 campaign, Red Bull has secured two race wins along with two additional podium finishes and one pole position which came in Monaco.

“As a starting point, we do not want to see Red Bull Racing’s performance drop below its current level. But our target is to go further and do better than they are doing at the moment,” Yamamoto said.

“It is one of the top team. It has won several championships and this year too it has already won some races. In addition, it is also obvious that they have a very good chassis and this means we’ll have better chances of winning races.

“This gives further motivation to all the members of Honda, but at the same time, it is a huge pressure and responsibility for us. However, it is Honda’s nature to always aspire to a very high target, and I think that’s what makes Honda, Honda.”

After three years of poor performance with McLaren before switching its supply to Toro Rosso this year, the team secured the Japanese manufacturer’s best result since its return to F1 with Pierre Gasly finishing in fourth place at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Honda’s last F1 race win came at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix when Jenson Button clinched his maiden Grand Prix victory for Lucky Strike Honda Racing.

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