Honda's return to Formula One hasn't been the best, to put things nicely--if you ask Fernando Alonso, you might get a more straightforward answer. Seemingly endless troubles have plagued the Japanese company's partner, McLaren, and hindered the British outfit from achieving a podium since they joined together back in 2014. These woes have led to a split between the teams with McLaren picking up the Renault option for 2018 while Honda will shack up with Toro Rosso in its place. Honda apparently has high hopes for its new partnership with the Faenza-based team, and as a recent statement from the marque reveals, the two hope to be in the top three of next year's F1 standings.
If Honda could achieve that goal, it would be a tremendous step forward. As it stands right now, the team's tandem with McLaren is ninth in the Constructors' Championship standings, only placing ahead of Sauber who has gained just five points this season. Given McLaren's known engineering-prowess, it's doubtful that the rest of the car is to blame for this, meaning that Honda is likely the main root of its problem.
That doesn't seem to phase them, though, as Honda's brand and communication director Katsuhide Moriyama told this weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix.
"For Honda, Formula One started with a dream by our founder, Mr Soichiro Honda, and we have already had the history of more than 50 years with F1," Moriyama said. "For our company F1 is a very important culture as well as being in the DNA of our company. It is true that we have gone through a very tough situation and nobody is satisfied with the current results especially the board."
He admitted that quitting Formula One was "never an option," and the brand's dedication to improving is stronger than before.
"It is our goal to overcome this tough challenge and get back to fighting with the frontrunners of the sport. Our spirit is going to come back and next year our goal is to fight for the top three at the top of the grid."
F1's current top three is a tight knit group with Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull filling out the podium in every race but one this year. The enormous budget and experience-derived know-how help them to hover around the top spot, and Toro Rosso would have to step it up big-time to advance from its 6th place position. While the team's Renault-sourced engines may not be helping its chances all that much, it's hard to see how a Honda powerplant switch could make much of a difference.
"Toro Rosso is not Ferrari and Mercedes, we don't have the infrastructure," Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost said. "But I can promise you that we, within our possibilities, will do the best possible job and the rest we will see."