Honda deal a boost to Toro Rosso's ambitions - Key

© XPB 

Toro Rosso tech boss James Key is thrilled with the team's new partnership with Honda, considering the deal provides a welcome "release" which will help move the squad to the next level.

Toro Rosso will pick up where McLaren will be leaving off after the termination of the latter's engine supply deal with the Japanese manufacturer.

Given Honda's incredibly difficult period with its McLaren partner since its return to F1 in 2015, anyone at Toro Rosso would be wary of the future, but Key sees the Faenza-based outfit's prospects boosted by the deal.

"It feels very exciting," Key told

"Like a release really, because it's the sort of thing that you always want to do to make the next step with your team, and it hasn't been possible until now.

"It's a huge challenge, and it's also a huge responsibility to that company as well. It's nice to have a partner rather than a supplier.

"You can really talk about the whole project and work out what the globally best solutions can be."

A weak point of the McLaren-Honda relationship has been communication, but Key likes what he has seen and heard so far.

"I have to say that the communication flow has been really good, they are incredibly quick at being able to respond to requests and questions," said Key.

"They seem to have a lot of information available, either to hand, or they're able to find out pretty quickly if you need a particular bit of data.

"We've had a lot of technical discussions, and they have supported it and communicated it very well."

Toro Rosso's deal with Honda has come relatively late in the day, with the design of its 2018 contender well underway. But the team has drawn on its resilience and faculty to adapt to alter its design accordingly.

"We've built up a resilience and flexibility in the team to having to cope with late decisions or changes of direction, which sometimes you might expect and other times you may not," said Key.

"Because we've been through it on a number of occasions before, we're very proactive with our planning, and put as much forethought into something as possible.

"It's several months earlier than the Ferrari situation in 2015. It's quite a bit easier to deal with, although there's a lot of work to do."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter