F1 Nation talks about the sudden decision of Honda and its after-effects for Red Bull Racing as Helmut Marko adds on the limitations they have.
The episode, beginning with the hosts discussing Honda’s recent F1 exit, was unlike any other, as the installment featured only the two hosts in Tom Clarkson and Alex Jacques, albeit with one extended member of the team also joining the discussion later on.
Also discussed at the beginning of the episode was the recent announcement related to Ferrari’s junior driver program, and those within it that will imminently be getting opportunities to drive in F1 sessions – a first for all of the three.
Jacques, the resident Formula 2 correspondent on the show, spoke positively of Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott – the two that will be testing in the upcoming Eifel GP. When the question was raised, however, of who might be axed in order for the seat to be filled by one of the aforementioned talents, the Brit was dissatisfied with all logical answers.
As a result, he suggested F2 teams field one-car entries, though when his co-host Clarkson floated the idea of three-car teams, he embraced it. One advert later, F1.com’s Lawrence Barretto joined the show as they delved deeper into the topic of Honda leaving F1.
Barretto theorised that Honda were left dissatisfied with the initial discussions over a 2026 engine formula, which might have led them to the belief that bailing out would be the best course of action. He also admitted that success with Red Bull might not have come as quickly as they may have hoped, before adding that the Japanese manufacturer may not have been convinced that Max Verstappen will be staying with the team for years to come.
Giving his take, Clarkson pointed out that Red Bull might assume Honda’s engine program and build a power unit of their own. This was viewed by all three pundits as a possibility, but they were not so confident in the theory that Mercedes could supply an engine willingly.
Subsequent discussion of how this announcement changes the landscape of the driver market ensued, with special attention being paid to how this alters the chances of Sergio Perez, and F2’s Yuki Tsunoda, who seemed a shoo-in for the 2021 AlphaTauri seat.
The podcast ended with discussion over the upcoming Eifel GP at the Nurburgring, and the sort of weather that is expected. For those who have yet to witness a Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, the episode also included a guide to the the circuit with tales of each corner.
Aside the F1 Nation podcast, Christian Horner re-affirmed in his column that the contracts of both Verstappen and Alexander Albon is not tied with Honda engine. However, Marko had other pointers when speaking to German publication AMuS.
He was more like, not only Verstappen would want a good engine but also Red Bull as well, to stay in F1. Citing COVID-19 as an added pressure, the Austrian stated that Honda’s reluctance could be ascertained, especially with the sport’s economics not going down.
Marko feels, it was too late eventually for finances. Even with the e-fuels proposal to change from 2023, the Austrian reckons, it will need money to do that. “The poor economic result as a result of the Corona crisis was the last piece of the puzzle for the board in Tokyo,” he said to AMuS.
“Red Bull’s lobbying at the FIA to cut costs for engine manufacturers came too late. “We should have cut costs beforehand. The proposed use of bio-fuels helped with Honda’s aim but changing engines to fit it costs again. From 2022 you will need a new cylinder head to make the engine fit for 20 percent biofuel.
“And then another new engine for 2023 with 100 percent e-fuels. You’d have to add up the cost of this engine concept.” Even if Red Bull ties up with Ilmor and or speculated Mugen, the company will have to shed more to not only buy Honda’s concept but also work on it with bio-fuel changes and so on.
They can find a sponsor for it but it has to be long-term and so Marko reckons if the 2026 engine regulation changes is brought forward, there could be some OEM ready to enter. “If you were to bring forward a new engine regulation, that would be the very best,” he said. But what interest would Mercedes have in changing something?
“They have an optimal engine, and with their power advantage they can use completely different wing settings. Abiteboul probably doesn’t know whether he should be for or against. Ferrari would most likely be ready. In case of doubt, it will again vote against reason. And with this unanimity not much will change.”
Here’s latest from Christian Horner on Honda situation
Here’s Christian Horner on no hurry in driver decision
Here’s Helmut Marko on Honda’s decision and Alexander Albon
Here’s Honda explaining their step to leave F1
Here’s Cyril Abiteboul responding to Honda leaving and providing to Red Bull