The Japanese carmaker has announced its decision to withdraw from the FIA Formula One World Championship at the end of the 2021 season, leaving Red Bull Racing and sister team Scuderia AlphaTauri without a power unit supplier from 2022 onwards.
In a statement released this morning, Takahiro Hachigo/President, Representative Director and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd highlighted:
“Todays announcement is also about expressing Hondas determination to take on a new challenge of realizing carbon neutrality. Together with stakeholders of Honda, we will continue our all-our effort and strive for the realization of carbon neutrality.
“Racing is in Hondas 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.
“We still have seven more races this season, and we are introducing a new power unit with improved performance for the next season. In order to fulfill the expectations our fans place on Honda, we will work together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri to continue competing with our utmost effort and strive for more victories all the way to the end.”
Honda Motor Company first entered Formula One in 1964, and on different occasions over the years, it has decided to stay out of the series, achieving great success and some disappointments.
After three years, experiencing “a number of difficulties”, the partnership with McLaren came to an end, resulting in the latter finding in Renault its new power unit engine supplier.
Honda continued to develop new technology, and in 2018, the manufacturer became the new power unit supplier for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
And the hard work on the new RA619H power unit started to pay off as positive results did not take long to happen.
IN THE VICTORY LANE
Max Verstappen achieved the first podium for Honda since returning to Formula One at the Australian Grand Prix, finishing in third place, with Red Bull Racing.
The 23-years-old driver scored Hondas first victory since 2006, the first win of the V6 turbo-hybrid era, at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, followed by three further victories and 13 podium finishes in just 31 race starts.
He would also claim his first pole position in the pinnacle of motorsport at the Hungarian Grand Prix that same year.
So far into 2020, Verstappen has emerged victorious at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix celebrated at the Silverstone Circuit in August.
“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,” said the Japanese manufacturer.
Honda, remarks that the goal to pursue the realization of carbon neutrality by 2050 is one of their environmental top priorities as a mobility manufacturer, and a contributor factor for the company, making the decision to leave Formula One.
In 2019, Toro Rosso Honda clinched Daniil Kvyat third-place finish at the German Grand Prix, and Pierre Gasly second-place finish in Brazil.
In 2020, the team renamed Scuderia AlphaTauri, claimed the win at the Italian Grand Prix early in September; the race in Monza also marked the 76th in Honda’s F1 history and French driver Pierre Gasly maiden victory in the series.
“Scuderia AlphaTauri and Honda have built up a very good and professional relationship since we started to cooperate in 2018,” said Team Principal, Franz Tost.
“We enjoyed great success together in the last few years, winning a race and finishing on the podium twice, with one second and one third place. Its unfortunate that Honda has decided to stop their commitment in Formula One because their Power Units performance has been improving constantly and dramatically to become one of the best engines on the grid in a short period of time since they returned to the sport. I am convinced that together we will continue to achieve strong results in the remaining races this season and next year.
“We certainly respect the reason behind Hondas decision to focus on environmental initiatives and to strive for the realization of carbon neutrality, everybody at Scuderia AlphaTauri wish them well in reaching all their goals and to have a successful future ahead. We sincerely want to thank Honda for the fruitful cooperation, we really enjoyed every day we have been working together. It wont be easy to find an engine partner like Honda but, of course, we will start looking at all possibilities to find the best Power Unit solution from 2022 onwards.”
Red Bull Racing won’t continue its partnership with title partner Aston Martin beyond 2020. From 2021, Racing Point will become Aston Martin’s works Formula One team.
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 Ones 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,” reads the official statement released by Red Bull Racing.
Honda, the only power unit manufacturer to win with two different teams since the start of Formula Ones hybrid era in 2014 opens the door for a conversation.Which of the three power unit suppliers - Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes, or Renault could fulfill the role Honda is leaving vacant?
At the time of writing, rumors point to a new reunion with Renault.The French manufacturer is the only one without a customer team, as from 2021, Mercedes has agreed to supply McLaren.
Sports Pundit contacted AlphaTauri requesting an official comment on the rumors linking Renault with the Red Bull-owned teams, asking is there have been talks in that regards between the parts involved, but at the moment he there is no comment.
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