How Honda Will Continue to Play a Key Role at Red Bull F1 After 2021

How Honda Will Continue to Play a Key Role at Red Bull F1 After 2021


Honda is leaving Formula 1 at the end of the year—a development that was announced 12 months ago this week—but the marque won’t completely walk into the F1 sunset when 2021 turns into 2022.

It was already known that Red Bull and Honda had reached an agreement for the energy drinks brand to continue utilizing its power units from 2022 through the end of the regulatory cycle in 2025. Red Bull expanded its motorsport campus at Milton Keynes, U.K., to create Red Bull Powertrains, in order to run and maintain the power units for Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri.

Honda, though, will continue to have a non-works involvement for the 2022 season, with an agreement reached between the Japanese firm and Red Bull. It had been expected, but details have now been formally released.

Red Bull Powertrains will have the right to use Honda’s Intellectual Property relating to the power unit, while Honda will support Red Bull Powertrains in building the 2022 power units. Honda will also provide trackside and race operation support from Japan through the 2022 season though in an operational change this will now come under the HRC umbrella.

HRC has successfully run Honda’s motorcycle operations, and the change, Honda says, will enable it to better integrate the technology it gains from both its motorcycle and motorsport activities. Red Bull Powertrains will then take over all responsibility in 2023. Personnel currently employed by Honda Racing Development at its own factory in Milton Keynes will be transferred across to Red Bull Powertrains.

It is another sign of the strong relationship between Red Bull and Honda; the parties only aligned in 2019 (2018 in the case of Red Bull sister team AlphaTauri) but are firmly in contention for this year’s championship. Red Bull has even decked out its RB16B in Honda’s white-and-red colors for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, with ‘arigato’—the Japanese for ‘thank you’—featuring on the livery. The livery change has happened this weekend as Formula 1 was originally due to race at Honda’s home circuit Suzuka, until entry restrictions and protocols in Japan forced the event’s cancellation.

Red Bull and Honda’s collaboration will also extend beyond power units. Since 2019 they have formed a mutual partnership on their respective young driver programmes and this will continue into 2022. It was this alliance that facilitated the development of Japan-born Yuki Tsunoda prior to his eventual graduation to Formula 1, with AlphaTauri, for 2021. Tsunoda’s place at AlphaTauri has already been assured for 2022.

Something’s looking a little different… ありがとう @HondaRacingF1 🤍

In a statement, Honda outlined that “there will also be additional cooperation between the two companies [in] dealing with various forms of motorsport and indeed other sports and marketing activities.

“Red Bull’s collaboration with Honda has been enormously successful and while our relationship in Formula 1 is changing, neither of us wish for that to be the end of the story,” outlined Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner.

“We are very pleased that our ambitious and exciting Red Bull Powertrains project will be strongly supported by Honda, technically and operationally, in 2022 and this will help ensure that Red Bull’s transition to the status of chassis and power unit manufacturer is seamless.

“Equally as exciting is the news that our collaboration with Honda will extend to a variety of motorsport activities, from driver development to other racing disciplines and even across the wider sporting world.

“This stretch of Honda’s Formula 1 voyage is coming to an end but together we are embarking on a new and fascinating journey.”

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