Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Verstappen in high-level talks over Honda’s F1 future

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Max Verstappen met with senior management from Red Bull and Honda at the Hungarian Grand Prix to discuss the Japanese manufacturer’s plans for the future of its F1 programme.

Honda is yet to confirm whether it will continue to supply engines beyond the end of the 2020 F1 season. Verstappen met with its F1 project director Toyuharu Tanabe and Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Helmut Marko to hear more about their plans.

“He had a meeting with the Helmut, Cristian, Tanabe-san, himself and Max talking about Honda’s development plan for the future,” said Honda’s managing director Masashi Yamamoto in an exclusive interview for RaceFans.

“It was actually requested from Christian that he wanted us to explain about Honda’s future plan,” he explained. “So we did it [for] Max and Max’s reply was [that] Honda is doing what you have promised before so we trust you and he understood.”

Verstappen has won two races this year since Red Bull switched to Honda power. “Max wants to win all the races, 21 races,” Yamamoto continued. “He can discuss about the chassis with Red Bull but about engine he has to discuss with Honda so that was the purpose.”

Verstappen did not confirm whether Honda’s long-term future in F1 was a subject of the meeting when asked by RaceFans. “At the end of the day it’s not up to me what they are going to decide, of course,” he said.

Yamamoto said Honda is not yet in a position to confirm its plans beyond next season. However his view is “Moto GP is the top of motorcycle category and F1 is of course [the same for] automotive and as Honda we should continue those two categories.”

Honda currently supplies engines to Red Bull and its junior team Toro Rosso. According to Yamamoto they are not prepared to expand beyond two in the near future. “We think it’s very difficult because we don’t have enough resources in terms of people and also facility,” he said.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

16 comments on “Verstappen in high-level talks over Honda’s F1 future”

  1. This shows how desperate they are to keep him in that seat….

    1. The landscape of their F1 involvement would be a lot different without Max, as they’d probably have only a couple of podiums to show for. Honda need Max in that seat no matter what, just like they desperately need Marc Marquez to stay at Repsol (without Marc, Honda would be exactly nowhere in MotoGP – Lorenzo is usually bottom last, while the customer team with Crutchlow and Nakagami is fighting down low in the midfield).

  2. McLaren was short sighted to abandon Honda when they did, especially since Honda was not only giving McLaren free engines and additional money on top of that, but also would have probably sweetened the deal further had McLaren stuck around until they came good as the Japanese reward loyalty hugely. Honda was never going to pull out of F1 without developing a good engine first to regain face.

    Worst of all, Honda finally stabilized the first season McF1 paid for Renault engines and McLaren did this while not having a title sponsor, the prestige to get a number of good title/associate sponsors or revenue from good results. It also made them look like a bad partner. Didn’t surprise me though since Zak Brown is an amateur with no idea of what it takes to make a winning F1 team let alone lead it.

  3. I wont be surprised if Honda decides to quit F1 all together post 2021 with the new regs.
    On the other hand, what if RB decides sell their team(s) to potential new comers ??

    1. Honda is currently only a PU supplier, and there will be no materially new rules for PU come 2021!

      1. @coldfly
        I thought significant changes were being proposed even for the PU.
        I stand corrected. Thanks.

  4. More likely to stop Max heading to Ferrari?……….

    1. He won’t leave RB until a place in mercedes is free. When Max is available, Merc will not spare anyone, even Ocon. Max will get merc place. Until then he will enjoy Hondas millions.

      But if merc is still dominant and or at least confident that they can win they may go with Ocon because of marketing purposes, because for germans a french is a better choice than a dutch.

      It all depends on how merc is hungry for more wins and dominance, because at the moment it seems they are feeling a little guilty about being so dominant.

  5. TBH, Max merely pointed out that Honda’s long-term plans are solely their decision, not his, which is a bit different from confirming or denying the truthfulness of something like the above wording in the paragraph suggests.

    1. @jerejj You’ve misunderstood the paragraph: We asked him if the subject of the meeting had been Honda’s future plans and he deflected the question.

      1. @keithcollantine So the question was indeed what the paragraph suggests, but he instead of directly answering the question deviated from it by saying the quoted words to point out Honda’s decisions are their decisions, not his. Now I get it better. I found the wording a bit misleading at first glance.

  6. None of were at the meeting but I wouldn’t be surprised if Max was invited to a meeting with Honda to try and convince Max that they will deliver. Red Bull would have to be concerned that Max will leave at the end of 2021. And both Max and Joss seem a bit disappointed lately.

    1. There’s been a bit of rumbling from Jos (one s) Verstappen in the Dutch press. I think that its a bit of power play to pressure both Red Bull & Honda to get innovating more. There’s not too much coming the rest of the races in parts or motor upgrades; so this is a way to shake things up i guess.

      & since both Red Bull & Honda are very happy with Max, i think they will try to make an extra step.

      But also remember that this was a ‘trial year’ for RB & Honda; & that the vision is for next year to go for the WC. So maybe Honda & Redbull have decided to keep the focus on next year; & max would prefer another win or 2 ;) & would prefer to see some more improvement.

    2. I think you are probably right; and this way it has the added advantage for Red Bull of deflecting some attention from their own efforts – by all accounts in the last races, as well as at the start of the year, it has not really been the PU that kept them from being at the pace of the top runners, but rather the rest of the car.

  7. I think Max was negotiating bis retainer from Honda. Probably came home with a big check.

  8. Nice job getting the story guys

Comments are closed.