Honda has announced it will exit Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season, citing a ‘one-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation’ afflicting the automotive industry.

The Japanese firm, which has a rich history of success during multiple eras of F1, returned to the premier four-wheel series in 2015 as an engine partner to the McLaren team, but it is only since its switch to supplying Red Bull Racing and its sister outfit AlphaTauri that it has achieved notable success with its V6 Hybrid power unit.

However, despite notching up victories during the 2019 and 2020 F1 seasons, Honda has shocked the sport by confirming its exit in just over a year’s time, leaving only Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari as engine suppliers from F1 2022 onwards.

 

 

In a long statement from Takahiro Hachigo, the President, Representative Director and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd, he expressed his pride in Honda's upturn in performances during a difficult period but maintained the firm's shift towards greener technologies and carbon neutrality put its F1 programme at odds with its future goals. (Excerpt below - Read FULL STATEMENT HERE)

"In F1, Honda achieved a certain level of success by attaining our goal to claim victories. And now, we will funnel our strengths into achieving innovations in the new field of creating carbon-free power units and energy and realizing carbon neutrality.  This will be a challenge as tough and difficult as competing in F1, and it will be a huge challenge Honda must take on together with society. Today’s announcement is also about expressing Honda’s determination to take on a new challenge of realizing carbon neutrality. Together with stakeholders of Honda, we will continue our all-our effort and strive for the realization of carbon neutrality.

"Ever since our founding, Honda has been advancing its technologies, developing its engineers and nurturing its strong passion for victory through challenges we have taken in motorsports. Racing is in Honda’s DNA, and therefore Honda will continue to be passionate about taking on challenges and striving to become No. 1 in all categories of racing in which Honda participates.

"We still have seven more races this season, and we are introducing a new power unit with improved performance for the next season. In order to fulfill expectations our fans place on Honda, we will work together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri to continue competing with our utmost effort and strive for more victories all the way to the end."

Red Bull has reacted with 'disappointment' at the news, which leaves it and AlphaTauri without an engine deal for the 2022 F1 season onwards (MORE HERE)

A company with a rich tradition in F1 as both a constructor and as an engine supplier, Honda returned to the sport in 2015 as the first new manufacturer to develop its own V6 Hybrid power unit beyond the three existing suppliers that raced during the V8 era.
 
Joining forces with McLaren to great fanfare in a deal that also enabled it to lure two-time world champion Fernando Alonso back into the team, the project proved a disaster from the off with the engine proving both woefully unreliable and slow.
 
While there was general frustration over the V6 Hybrid formula as a whole being too complicated to develop from scratch, it nonetheless led to an increasingly agitated McLaren - in the midst of its worst seasons in F1 - regularly criticising Honda in public.
 
Despite improvements during the latter stages of its partnership, the two parties eventually decided to part ways at the conclusion of the 2017 season, leading to a new agreement with Red Bull to initially supply the formerly named Scuderia Toro Rosso sister outfit.
 
From 2019, Red Bull and Honda joined forces and yielded substantially more success with Verstappen bringing Honda its first F1 win in Austria - either as an engine supplier or a constructor - since 2006. Four more wins, including one for AlphaTauri, have since followed.
 
Prior to its return to in 2015, Honda has enjoyed sporadic periods in F1 as a constructor and engine supplier, most famously during the late 80s/early 90s with McLaren. Its most recent foray into F1 ended in 2008 when it famously exited the sport, only for the entry to be assumed by the BrawnGP team that would go on to dominate the 2009 F1 season.