Wednesday 7 March at 09:35 :
Mar.7 (GMM) Toro Rosso says it is giving Honda "freedom" to thrive in formula one.
After three years of perseverance, McLaren finally called time on its works collaboration with the Japanese carmaker at the end of last season.
But the British team is still struggling after switching to Renault power.
At the same time, Toro Rosso is happy to have left the Renault camp and just as happy to now be working as Honda's works partner.
So far in winter testing, the Faenza based team's package has been very reliable and not notably slow.
One theory is that Toro Rosso is being far more accommodating to Honda, with McLaren having imposed certain technical requirements on its partner in 2015-2017.
Toro Rosso boss James Key is quoted by Corriere dello Sport: "We wanted to work with Honda.
"Our team principal knows them well so we felt that we could establish a very friendly relationship and good understanding. So far it's been that way.
"We are trying to give Honda the freedom it needs to get back to the level of performance that it deserves. Basically we felt a responsibility to provide them a car that will allow them to express their full potential.
"I think they appreciated it," Key added.
As for the question of power, Key said the difference between the Renault and Honda power units is quite small.
"As long as things continue like this, there is no reason to think that they will not be able to fight with Renault by the middle of the year," he said.
Key also said the Honda deal continues into 2019, whether or not sister team Red Bull also makes the switch from Renault.
"We have a separate agreement. If Red Bull comes in it will be in addition to us," he revealed.