Honda has announced that it will conclude Formula 1 participation from 2021 and we’re all the sadder for it.
It will mark the end of a 6-year stint as a power unit supplier to Formula 1 teams in this recent hybrid era and it’s a sad situation for the sport where less engine suppliers are competing. The move will leave Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG as the only engine suppliers.
IN 2015, Honda Motor Co made a welcome return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier to the McLaren team. It wasn’t the most stellar return in terms of hybrid power unit performance and reliability compared to rivals at the time. The company parted ways with McLaren at the end of an unsuccessful 3-years.
Despite this, it was clear that Honda was invested and that the company would rise – and rise they did joining forces with Toro Rosso in 2018 before also supplying power units to the Red Bull Racing team the following year.
Honda’s reasons for leaving the motorsport of F1 is officially down to a strategic movement of resources into other technologies for the future of its business. Honda has stressed that it needs to channel its resources 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.” Honda’s plan is to be 100% carbon-neutral by 2050.
The move will mean that Red Bull Racing and Alphatauri will need to sign deals with other engine suppliers, leaving Renault the most suited to partner up once again unless the teams can swing a deal with the other two – can you imagine that? Red Bull Ferrari? Does that sound right?
Either way, it’s sad for the sport as Honda’s journey brought much drama, much excitement and much needed diversity.