Red Bull and AlphaTauri will sport special liveries at 2021 Turkish Grand Prix this weekend in tribute to Honda.
This weekend was initially set to be Honda’s final home race weekend as a power unit supplier in F1 at Suzuka, Japan, but the Japanese Grand Prix was cancelled in August due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Turkey will instead replace the Japanese GP this weekend after initially replacing Canada in early June, only for that initial replacement race to be cancelled due to the country featuring on UK’s travel red-list zone.
Red Bull and AlphaTauri though will mark the date of what was set to be Honda’s home farewell to F1 by sporting ‘unique liveries’, in turn providing Honda fans in Japan a chance to say farewell albeit from their homes rather than trackside.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will sport a ‘predominantly white livery’ which is inspired by Honda RA 272 car, which Richie Ginther drove to Honda’s maiden F1 win at 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
AlphaTauri meanwhile will display an one-word message as tribute to Honda, saying ありがとう(arigato,), which means “thank you” in English.
Speaking on the decision to sport these tribute liveries in Turkey, Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner said: “We had all been looking forward to giving Honda’s Japanese fans a chance to celebrate our extremely successful relationship in Formula One, on home soil at Suzuka.
“With the race falling victim to the pandemic, we just couldn’t let the weekend pass without paying tribute to Honda and its amazing home fans by bringing a little bit of its heritage to Istanbul.”
Explaining the reason behind Red Bull’s livery design, Horner added; “The livery chosen for our cars pays homage to Honda’s remarkable F1 journey and hopefully we can give fans another victory in those legendary colours this weekend.”
Honda Chief Officer for Brand and Communication Operations, Koji Watanabe meanwhile confirmed that the everyone at Honda “appreciate” the gesture of Red Bull and AlphaTauri “as a small token” of support over many years despite feeling “extremely disappointed” at no Japanese GP this year.
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) October 6, 2021