TORO ROSSO SEEKING HONDA POWER: If negotiations are successful, Toro Rosso could be powered by Honda from 2017-20. Image: AFP
London - Red Bull's sister-team Toro Rosso could become the first customer of Honda's engines in Formula 1.
That is the claim of the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, who said rumours of the Red Bull-owned team's interest actually dates back to 2015.
McLaren wants exclusivity
But it is believed Ron Dennis still intends to fiercely defend an apparent clause in his works contract with the Japanese manufacturer that guarantees exclusivity for McLaren.
That, however, is at odds with a new rule in F1 guaranteeing that teams will not be left without customer deals.
Read: Marchionne wanted Alfa deal for Toro Rosso
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone is quoted as saying: "Last year (2015), as Honda was new, we said they could supply only one team, but according to the rules manufacturers must have the ability to supply more teams.
He added: "Their (Honda's) problem was the exclusive agreement with McLaren."
Honda keen on supplying
Turun Sanomat correspondent Luis Vasconcelos reports that Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost is now pushing for a three-year Honda deal, for the period 2017-20.
The Faenza-based team currently uses 2015-spec Ferrari units.
Honda appears open to the idea of supplying customers.
The Japanese marque's new F1 chief, Yusuke Hasegawa, said: "We don't have any plans but we have already promised the FIA that we would have the potential to supply a second or third team, so we are preparing that."