Honda has decided to withdraw from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season, leaving Red Bull and AlphaTauri again searching for a new power unit supplier.
The teams are faced with a situation they found themselves in just a few years ago following the split from Renault.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “As a team we understand how difficult it has been for Honda Motor Company to reach the decision to step back from Formula One at the end of the 2021 season.
"The shifting focus within the automotive industry has led to Honda’s decision to re-deploy their resources and we understand and respect the reasoning behind this.
"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.
“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.
“Our joint focus for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons are unchanged, to fight for victories and challenge for the championship.
"As a signatory to Formula One’s latest Concorde Agreement, Red Bull Racing remains committed to the sport in the long term and we look forward to embarking on a new era of innovation, development and success.
"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.”
Red Bull's partnership with Honda led to Max Verstappen scoring the latter’s first victory since 2006 at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, followed by three further victories and 13 podium finishes in just 31 race starts.
Additionally, Scuderia AlphaTauri’s victory at this year’s Italian Grand Prix saw Honda become the only power unit manufacturer to win with two different teams since the start of Formula One’s hybrid era in 2014.
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost remarked: “Scuderia AlphaTauri and Honda have built up a very good and professional relationship since we started to cooperate in 2018”.
“We enjoyed great success together in the last few years, winning a race and finishing on the podium twice, with one second and one third place.
"It’s unfortunate that Honda has decided to stop their commitment in Formula One, because their power unit’s performance has been improving constantly and dramatically to become one of the best engines on the grid in a short period of time, since they returned to the sport.
"I’m convinced that together we will continue to achieve strong results in the remaining races this season and next year.
“We certainly respect the reason behind Honda’s decision to focus on environmental initiatives and to strive for the realisation of carbon neutrality, everybody at Scuderia AlphaTauri wish them well in reaching all their goals and to have a successful future ahead.
"We sincerely want to thank Honda for the fruitful cooperation, we really enjoyed every day we’ve been working together.
"It won’t be easy to find an engine partner like Honda but, of course, we will start looking at all possibilities to find the best power unit solution from 2022 onwards.”
Explaining the reasons behind its departure, a Honda statement read: "As the automobile industry undergoes a once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation, Honda has decided to strive for the 'realization of carbon neutrality by 2050'. 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.
"Toward 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 vehicle (FCV) and battery EV (BEV) technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies.
"As a part of this move, in April of this year, Honda created a new centre called Innovative Research Excellence, Power Unit & Energy.
"Honda will allocate its energy management and fuel technologies as well as knowledge amassed through F1 activities to this area of power unit and energy technologies and take initiatives while focusing on the future realisation of carbon neutrality. Toward this end, Honda made the decision to conclude its participation in F1.
"Motorsports activities are in Honda’s DNA, and therefore Honda will continue to be passionate about taking on challenges and striving to become number one in all categories of racing in which Honda participates.
"In F1, in order to fulfil the expectations of its fans, Honda will work together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri to continue competing with its utmost effort and strive for more victories all the way to the end of the 2021 season.
"With its 'challenging spirit' cultivated through motorsports activities, Honda will take on the new challenge of the future realization of carbon neutrality."
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