Masashi Yamamoto reflects on the journey Honda had with Red Bull and the decision to move away but still extend some help.
Ever since returning to F1, Honda had to wait long for its first podium or win in the new hybrid era. The McLaren tenure was nothing less than a disaster as the partnership with Red Bull started a new journey and one which eventually got them laurels.
In only their first race with Red Bull, they had a podium finish in Australia which Yamamoto reckons is their best moment since the return of Honda. That followed with more podiums until the first win in Austria which made the year all the more memorable.
“The best moment for me is the Australian Grand Prix in 2019, the first podium with Red Bull Racing,” said Yamamoto. “Also, of course, 2019 Austria, the first win with Red Bull.” The goal of constructors’ championship didn’t come into fruition though.
They came close in 2021 but had to be content with leading Max Verstappen to a drivers’ title. Despite the competitive year, there was no second discussion among Honda bosses to extend their stay as the Japanese manufacturer had been saying for long.
“Leaving F1 was a very big decision for Honda, and it was for the carbon-neutral and also for the customers all over the world,” said Yamamoto. “Although we’re having good results this year, we never had a discussion to stay here.”
They, however, will extend their help and support for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri until the time the former is fully ready with its Powertrains department in Milton Keynes. “It [RBP] will be totally controlled by Red Bull but in accordance with Red Bull’s request and also to support as much as possible the F1 activity for AlphaTauri and Red Bull, Honda will make our best,” said Yamamoto, who noted that whether he remains in the sport externally remains to be known as it can only decided by the bosses above him.
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