Currently reading: Breaking: Honda to quit F1 after 2021 season
Engine supplier to Red Bull and AlphaTauri will exit the sport at the end of the 2021 season
James Attwood, digital editor
News
3 mins read
2 October 2020

Honda will quit Formula 1 at the end of next season, citing the need to focus its resources and spending on the development of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

The shocking news means that Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri – the only two teams other than Mercedes-AMG to score race wins so far in 2020 – will be looking for a new engine supplier for the 2022 season.

The Japanese firm returned to F1 as an engine supplier in 2015 with McLaren. That relationship ended after three tough seasons, with Honda spending a year supplying Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri), before starting to supply Red Bull as well from 2019. Honda has scored five wins in the past two seasons.

But the firm will now quit the sport at the end of the 2021 season, the final year of the current technical regulations. Noting that the car industry is undergoing a “once-in-100-years period of great transformation”, Honda said it “has decided to strive for the ‘realisation of carbon neutrality by 2050’.”

It added: “Towards this end, Honda needs to funnel its corporate resources in research and development into the areas of future power unit and energy technologies, including fuel cell vehicles and battery EV technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies.”

Honda recently launched its first electric car, the E supermini, and added that the learnings it has made developing the 1.6-litre hybrid powertrain used in F1 will benefit its new Innovative Research Excellent, Power Unit and Energy centre.

The news will be a major blow to Red Bull and its AlphaTauri junior team, with major questions over a future engine partner. Honda’s withdrawal leaves just Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari and Renault as F1 engine manufacturers.

Mercedes-AMG would be unlikely to be keen on supplying engines to its closest current rival, while Ferrari would likely want to focus its efforts on its works team. 

Red Bull achieved its greatest success using Renault engines, with the partnership dominating the sport from 2010 until 2013. But the relationship grew fractious in its final years, with Renault feeling its contribution to the success wasn’t appreciated.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said that the team “understand and respect the reasoning” behind Honda’s decision. He said: “Their decision presents obvious challenges for us as a team, but we have been here before, and with our strength in depth, we are well prepared and equipped to respond effectively, as we have proven in the past.”

He added: “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.”

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost said: “It’s unfortunate that Honda has decided to stop their commitment in F1, because their power unit’s performance has been improving constantly and dramatically to become one of the best engines on the grid.” 

The decision also raises questions about the long-term future of F1, with car manufacturers increasingly focusing their resources towards electric and alternatively fuelled cars. F1 bosses have committed to continuing with the current 1.6-litre turbocharged hybrid powertrains for the immediate future, which could make it harder to retain and attract manufacturers eager to promote their non-combustion engine technologies.

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While Honda's current spell in F1 dates back to 2015, the firm first entered the sport in 1964, scoring its first race win with John Surtees the following year. After quitting at the end of 1968, the firm returned as an engine supplier in 1983, dominating the sport for much of the decade with the McLaren, Williams and Lotus teams. 

The firm withdrew again in 1991, before returning in 2000 as an engine supplier and eventuallying buying its own team. It took a single win with Jenson Button in 2006, but then quit the sport suddenly at the end of a tough 2008 season due to the global financial crisis.

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289

2 October 2020

Dont know why they ever returned to F1! Ego trip I guess.

Here is a company that struggles financially. Where motorsport has never upgraded their image in terms of desirability....and where here in the UK, they are still seen as cars for the 'Blue-Rinse' brigade.

IMO they should give up on BTCC too and concentrate on using their undoubted technical abilities on producing cars that appeal to everyone.

They should also sack their ad agency, who produces obscureTV ads which say absolutely nothing about the product and are clearly created to win Advertising awards amongst their peers -not to actually sell cars or raise the image of Honda.

 

I could see Honda exiting Europe along with Mitsubishi,

3 October 2020
That's a shame.

2 October 2020
It's good that some good has come from it for them. It's a pity they will leave after next year as after the Mercedes PU the Honda one is now the second best and Renault 3rd with Ferrari the worst one. Will ne interesting to see where Ted Null and Alpha Tauro go now. I am not sure Renault will be willing to supply them again and even if they were do not think Max would be happy with a Renault engine again so Ferrari look like there best hope. It might be back to the back of the grid for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri for a whole or maybe midfield but unless Ferrari meraculasly solve there engine power problems that's the best they could hope for unless a new PU Engine supplier comes in.

2 October 2020
It's good that some good has come from it for them. It's a pity they will leave after next year as after the Mercedes PU the Honda one is now the second best and Renault 3rd with Ferrari the worst one. Will ne interesting to see where Ted Null and Alpha Tauro go now. I am not sure Renault will be willing to supply them again and even if they were do not think Max would be happy with a Renault engine again so Ferrari look like there best hope. It might be back to the back of the grid for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri for a whole or maybe midfield but unless Ferrari meraculasly solve there engine power problems that's the best they could hope for unless a new PU Engine supplier comes in.

4 October 2020
FastRenaultFan wrote:

It's good that some good has come from it for them. It's a pity they will leave after next year as after the Mercedes PU the Honda one is now the second best and Renault 3rd with Ferrari the worst one. Will ne interesting to see where Ted Null and Alpha Tauro go now. I am not sure Renault will be willing to supply them again and even if they were do not think Max would be happy with a Renault engine again so Ferrari look like there best hope. It might be back to the back of the grid for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri for a whole or maybe midfield but unless Ferrari meraculasly solve there engine power problems that's the best they could hope for unless a new PU Engine supplier comes in.

Renault are obliged to supply them under F1 rules, doh!

Also, learn to spell.

Also, when your post is no more than name-calling and hatred for people who have succeeded more than you in life, don't be surprised if adults stop treating you as a peer.

2 October 2020

Hopefully not another nail in the f1 coffin. Bet Red Bull wishes it treated its previous supplier, Renault, a bit better now. What goes around comes around Christian.

Decision is made all the worse by a desire to waste yet more billions on hydrogen cars.

2 October 2020

They have struggled to regain their prior succes in F1. 

F1 is becoming irrelvant as a sport. It is boring, expensive, polluting and hidden away on pay TV.

Honda is right to concentrate their efforts on future technologies like EV's, Hydrogen and their very successful motorcycles.

2 October 2020

They have struggled to regain their prior succes in F1. 

F1 is becoming irrelvant as a sport. It is boring, expensive, polluting and hidden away on pay TV.

Honda is right to concentrate their efforts on future technologies like EV's, Hydrogen and their very successful motorcycles.

2 October 2020

Inevitable news. With ICE car sales to be banned in the near future, how can a car manufacturer justify spending £millions on ICE engines for F1 teams? Renault to follow shortly.

F1 needs to reinvent. Quickly.

2 October 2020

Maybe they should look to running, smaller, more conventional 'crate' power units either from a single manufacturer or from various current production car to act as a generator and have the focus more more battery power/development.Or move to Hydrogen....

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