Honda say to withdraw from Formula One at end of 2021 season

Ruben Hill
November 21, 2020

Honda has revised its long-term ambitions within the automotive industry and is striving for carbon neutrality by 2050 and as a result has decided not to compete in Formula 1 beyond 2021.

Honda has announced that will once again leave the Formula One world championship following the conclusion of the 2021 season.

Honda later left the sport, returning in 2015 but struggled for three years working with McLaren.

With McLaren switching camps, Renault will be the only manufacturer without any external customers on their books and previously supplied Red Bull for 12 seasons - including all four of the latter's double title-winning campaigns in the early 2010s. However the new engine was significantly down on power and proved hopelessly unreliable, with five retirements due to the power unit and multiple grid penalties for replacement engine components. The combination wasn't successful and their partnership ended after three race seasons, with Honda then supplying Alpha Tauri for a year before striking a deal with Red Bull as well. That also looked unwise to start with, as only Pierre Gasly was able to pick up points regularly, and Toro Rosso finished second-last.

"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", added Horner.

The Red Bull and Alpha Tauri teams use power units made by the Japanese manufacturer. The first win wasn't far away, as Verstappen (again) took victory at Red Bull's home circuit in Austria.

Both Red Bull and AlphaTauri have won a Grand Prix apiece so far in 2020, with Honda the only engine maker other than Mercedes to win races. However, once 2021 concludes - the past year before the new regulations - Honda will again walk away from the sport. Auto manufacturers have suffered huge losses through 2020 due to ongoing global issues, and devoting huge sums to an incredibly expensive sport like F1 is simply unsustainable.

"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".

"As a part of this move, in April of this year, Honda created a new centre called Innovative Research Excellence, Power Unit & Energy".

The firm says it intends to focus on developing technologies that could help it reach its 2050 carbon-neutral goal - these technologies include power units for fuel cell vehicles and battery electric vehicles.

Of course the move means that Red Bull and AlphaTauri will be without an engine supplier for the 2022 season and the start of the new regulations.

The decision, of course, leaves both teams little time to find a new supplier after 2021 and nearly certainly leaves former supplier Renault as the front runner because they now have the fewest customers and have already formed a working relationship.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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