Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner is encouraged by the early signs coming from future engine partner Honda ahead of their link up in 2019, hailing the “strong desire” shown by the Japanese manufacturer.

Red Bull will part with engine supplier of 11 seasons Renault at the end of the year, becoming Honda’s primary team as the manufacturer expands to a two-team supply. Honda currently only supplies Red Bull’s sister team, Toro Rosso, with power units in F1.

While the Red Bull-Honda partnership will not officially kick off until 2019, early foundations are being laid that have left Horner feeling impressed and encouraged by what the future may hold.

“We are encouraged by what we are seeing, but it is still early days,” Horner said.

“But there is a very strong desire within Honda, and it is great to be working in a partnership so we are looking forward to the next chapter for Red Bull Racing.

“Before that, we have six races to close out with our existing partner.”

Mexico ‘only shot’ to win again 2018

Red Bull has two wins to its name this season - Daniel Ricciardo took victory in Monaco and Max Verstappen won in Austria - but has struggled to fight for top spot on a regular basis with pace-setters Mercedes and Ferrari.

The team has been most competitive on high downforce circuits, such as in Singapore, where Verstappen finished second eight days ago, with Mexico being the final track of that ilk remaining on the calendar this year.

Asked if Red Bull had any more chances to win this year, Horner said: “I think realistically, this year, Mexico is probably the only shot we’ve got left under normal circumstances.”

Red Bull currently sits third in the constructors' championship, 178 points behind leading team Mercedes.



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