Honda have announced that it will withdraw from Formula One as a power unit supplier at end of 2021 season.
The decision comes after Honda decided ‘to funnel its corporate resources in research and development into the areas of future power unit and energy technologies,’ with particular focus on fuel cell vehicle and battery EV technologies which are mooted to be at the core of carbon-free technology.
These moves form parts of Honda’s plan to push for carbon neutrality by 2050 and will be pursued as part of the company’s environmental initiatives, meaning that the decision was taken ‘to conclude its participation in F1.’
Honda will however continue their partnership with Red Bull and Alpha Tauri until the end of the 2021 season in a deal which has seen both teams collect a combined five wins under Honda power in last two seasons.
This announcement comes just weeks after Honda powered Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly to a shock F1 win at Monza which was their fifth win since returning to the sport in 2015 as a power unit supplier.
Alpha Tauri Team Principal, Franz Tost has expressed his disappointment that “It’s unfortunate that Honda has decided to stop their commitment in Formula One,” after constantly improving their power unit performance since returning to the sport in 2015 with McLaren.
Tost however iterated his belief that Alpha Tauri will continue to deliver success in their remaining races under Honda power, saying; “I’m convinced that together we will continue to achieve strong results in the remaining races this season and next year.”
Honda’s choice to focus on carbon neutrality through environmental initiatives was praised by Tost who said; “We certainly respect the reason behind Honda’s decision to focus on environmental initiatives and to strive for the realization of carbon neutrality,”
Tost also confirmed that plans are underway to look “… at all possibilities to find the best Power Unit solution from 2022 onwards.”
Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner acknowledged how “difficult” a decision it was for Honda to end their partnership in F1, especially due to a “shifting focus within the automotive industry…” which has left Red Bull “disappointed not to continue our partnership with Honda…”
Having left Renault for Honda at end of 2018, Red Bull are now searching for a new Power Unit supplier and Horner believes that despite “obvious challenges”, the team is “well prepared and equipped to respond effectively, as we have proven in the past.”
Horner however iterated that their aims for the rest of their partnership remains unchanged, saying; “Our joint focus for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons are unchanged, to fight for victories and challenge for the championship.”
It has also been confirmed that Red Bull remain committed to F1 in the long term after they plus Alpha Tauri signed a new Concorde Agreement earlier this year, and will begin “to further evaluate and find the most competitive power unit solution for 2022 and beyond.”
Across Honda’s partnership with Red Bull and Alpha Tauri (formerly Toro Rosso), they have collected five wins and 15 podiums in total so far.