Honda has decided to not stay back in F1 beyond the 2021 season, leaving Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri with no engine suppliers.
Japanese manufacturer Honda dropped a bombshell on Friday morning with its announcement of leaving F1 after the 2021 season and not renewing its deal to stay back as an exclusive suppliers to Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
After an extensive time out, Honda returned to F1 with McLaren to start a new chapter in its hybrid goals. It didn’t start of well with the British team but ever since it switched to Red Bull and AlphaTauri, success found its way, in form of race victories.
Not only with Red Bull but Honda became the only suppliers in hybrid era to win with two F1 teams after Pierre Gasly’s win in Italian GP. This eventually became a thorn as the Japanese manufacturer saw it as a goal achieved and nothing more left to be proved.
There was the constructors’ and drivers’ championship but with Mercedes advancements, it is difficult ask for any manufacturer. This leaves a huge hole for Red Bull to fill up as neither Mercedes, nor Ferrari will be up to provide them with the engine.
It leaves them only with Renault, who have no team to supply apart from their own beyond the 2020 F1 season. It will be a big ask for Red Bull to go back with them after the bridges burnt when their deal ended when the team signed with Honda.
“As a Team we understand how difficult it has been for Honda Motor Company to reach the decision to step back from Formula One at the end of the 2021 season,” said Christian Horner. “The shifting focus within the automotive industry has led to Honda’s decision to re-deploy their resources and we understand and respect the reasoning behind this.
“Their decision presents obvious challenges for us as a Team but we have been here before and with our strength in depth we are well prepared and equipped to respond effectively, as we have proven in the past. Whilst we are disappointed not to continue our partnership with Honda, we are enormously proud of our joint success, delivering five wins and 15 podiums for both Red Bull owned teams and we thank everyone at Honda for their extraordinary efforts and commitment.
“Our joint focus for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons are unchanged, to fight for victories and challenge for the championship. As a signatory to Formula One’s latest Concorde Agreement, Red Bull Racing remains committed to the sport in the long term and we look forward to embarking on a new era of innovation, development and success. As a group, we will now take the time afforded to us to further evaluate and find the most competitive power unit solution for 2022 and beyond.”
Statement from Honda:
“Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has decided to conclude its participation in the FIA Formula One (F1) World Championship as a power unit supplier at the end of the 2021 season. In 2015, Honda resumed competition in F1, the most prestigious automobile racing series in the world, with the goal to win using its own energy management technologies. Initially, Honda experienced a number of difficulties; however, by demonstrating the collective strength of “All Honda,” including the utilization of its aircraft engine technologies, Honda has realized a high level of competitiveness.
“Moreover, as a result of the growth Honda achieved together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri under a strong partnership with both teams, Honda was able to attain its goal of earning victories with three wins last season and two wins* so far in the 2020 season. In the meantime, as the automobile industry undergoes a once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation, Honda has decided to strive for the “realization of carbon neutrality by 2050.” This goal will be pursued as part of Honda’s environmental initiatives which is one of the top priorities of Honda as a mobility manufacturer.
“Toward this end, Honda needs to funnel its corporate resources in research and development into the areas of future power unit and energy technologies, including fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and battery EV (BEV) technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies. As a part of this move, in April of this year, Honda created a new center called Innovative Research Excellence, Power Unit & Energy. Honda will allocate its energy management and fuel technologies as well as knowledge amassed through F1 activities to this area of power unit and energy technologies and take initiatives while focusing on the future realization of carbon neutrality. Toward this end, Honda made the decision to conclude its participation in F1.
“Motorsports activities are in Honda’s DNA, and therefore Honda will continue to be passionate about taking on challenges and striving to become No. 1 in all categories of racing in which Honda participates. In F1, in order to fulfill the expectations of its fans, Honda will work together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri to continue competing with its utmost effort and strive for more victories all the way to the end of the 2021 season.
“With its “challenging spirit” cultivated through motorsports activities, Honda will take on the new challenge of the future realization of carbon neutrality. Honda will appreciate the continuous understanding and support for its motorsports activities and for the new challenge of Honda.”