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Brawn cites Toro Rosso for success of Red Bull marriage

NEWS STORY
30/05/2019

While the very nature of the Monaco circuit means that the race is a great leveller, the fact is that on Sunday, four Honda-powered cars finished in the top ten, while only two Mercedes-powered cars made it, as did two Ferrari and two Renault powered cars.

A combination of Verstappen 2.0, the more mature, consistent version of Verstappen 1.0, who was last seen in Brazil, and the ever-improving Honda, is widely seen as the only real threat to Mercedes, the nightmare of those three troubled seasons with McLaren a distant memory for the Japanese manufacturer.

Ross Brawn believes it is the early decision to switch Toro Rosso to Honda that is now reaping dividends for the Dutchman and his team, while also paying tribute to one of the true stars of the season, Alexander Albon.

"There were four Honda power units in the top eight in the Monaco Grand Prix, a result that would have seemed out of reach for the Japanese company a few years back," says the Briton.

"Its marriage to Red Bull, preceded by last year's 'engagement' to Toro Rosso, is beginning to reap rewards," he adds. "Much of that is down to the Milton Keynes team, but the contribution from its sister team in Faenza is very important, both for what it did last year and for the way the team is running this season. Plus, between the two teams, they have a group of young drivers with different levels of experience who are proving very competitive.

"Verstappen is a known quantity, even if we tend to forget he is still only 21, Pierre Gasly is rapidly finding his feet and over at Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat is tenaciously clawing his way back into the limelight after a year out.

"But it's Alexander Albon who is proving to be the biggest surprise and the most successful of this year's three rookies," admits the Briton. "In Monaco, the Thai driver proved he was clever as well as quick, especially when it came to managing his tyres, and he rattled off no fewer than 40 laps on the softs he'd used in qualifying.

"It was a well-managed strategy, as was that of his team-mate who stopped much earlier, on lap 21, to switch to hard tyres. Two different routes to reach Toro Rosso's targeted destination of a double points finish and both drivers made the journey look comfortable."

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1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 29/05/2019 18:22

"Not having a sister team is where McLaren slipped up.
Had they bought a chunk of Manor, whipped the Honda in there and kept the Merc for at least one more year, they could have either decided to go with Honda or renegotiated with Merc for another season while Honda got their act together.
Also, politically McLaren would have had another vote at the table.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing."

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