It’s official. After months of deliberations, Red Bull Racing has finally decided on its engine supplier for the 2019 Formula 1 season – and surprise, surprise, it’s Honda. The Milton Keynes-based outfit signed a two-year deal with the Japanese carmaker, bidding goodbye to its longtime partner Renault with which it won 57 races as well as four back-to-back drivers’ and constructors’ championships between 2010 and 2013.

This follows a similar deal made with sister team Toro Rosso for this season, and the two will race with identical specification power units next year. “This multi-year agreement with Honda signals the start of an exciting new phase in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s efforts to compete not just for grand prix wins but for what is always our goal – championship titles,” said Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner.

“After careful consideration and evaluation we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the team. We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso, and by the scope of their ambition, which matches our own,” he added.

It’s a massive boost for Honda, which endured three years of hardship since returning to the sport with McLaren back in 2015. A lack of performance, reliability and results resulted in a fractious relationship with the Woking team, which resulted in the latter switching to Renault power for the 2018 season. The ship has steadied slightly after moving to Toro Rosso, with Pierre Gasly scoring a brilliant fourth place in Bahrain.

At the same time, Red Bull has publicly expressed displeasure of the lack of pace of its Renault power units, which is said to have been a key reason for it struggling to match title rivals Mercedes and Ferrari in the hybrid era. With Honda, the team will effectively become a works outfit and will be the focus of the engine supply operation, while Honda will get to supply two teams under the same umbrella.

Honda president Takahiro Hachigo said, “Having established a good relationship with Scuderia Toro Rosso, we have decided to extend our Formula One involvement to the other team in the Red Bull family, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, as from the 2019 season. Having two teams means we can access twice as much data as previously. We believe that working with both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing will allow us to get closer to our goal of winning races and championships, building two strong partnerships.”

It’s not the first time the carmaker and the Austrian energy drinks company have partnered in motorsport, as Honda gets Red Bull sponsorship in both MotoGP and the World Superbike Championship (WSBK), as well as the now-defunct Global Rallycross Championship (GRC). One thing’s for sure – it’s certainly going to be an interesting two years ahead, to say the least.