Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Red Bull and Toro Rosso confirm new Honda deal for 2021

2021 F1 season

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Red Bull has confirmed it will continue to use Honda power in the 2021 F1 season.

The team has won three races in its first season using the Japanese manufacturers power units this year, including the most recent round of the championship in Brazil.

Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso, which switched to Honda power last year, will also continue using Honda engines in 2021.

The news is an important development for Formula 1, which is seeking the continued commitment of engine manufacturers beyond 2020. Mercedes has already confirmed it will supply McLaren and Williams in 2021.

Honda returned to Formula 1 in 2015 with McLaren, seven years after selling their factory team, which is now Mercedes.

Much was expected from the McLaren-Honda reunion but they struggled from the outset. Despite making progress the following year slipped back in 2017, which prompted McLaren to end their deal. Sauber, now Alfa Romeo, originally agreed to use Honda engines in 2018, before cancelling the switch.

Toro Rosso took up the 2018 deal and following an impressive early showing in their second race together in Bahrain, where Pierre Gasly took fourth place, Red Bull opted to switch to the Japanese power units. Their three wins this year is one fewer than they managed with their TAG Heuer-branded Renault engines last season.

Read our exclusive interview with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner later today on RaceFans

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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...

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20 comments on “Red Bull and Toro Rosso confirm new Honda deal for 2021”

  1. Actually quite excited about this; important that the main teams have their ‘own’ PU.

    Not sure where that leaves McLaren though. Maybe they’ll be one of the top 3-4 if/when Mercedes sells the F1 team (selling team and PU business as separate entities).

  2. So this indicates that Honda intends to continue in F1 beyond the end of next season.

    1. Indicates??

      1. @erikje Still no formal confirmation of that by Honda, hence, the word-choice.

        1. @jerejj, if you don’t want to take RBR’s word for it, then you could have taken Honda’s announcements via Twitter earlier today as a ‘formal confirmation’
          I don’t have a clue what this means, but must be their confirmation:

          2021年も @redbullracing 、 @ToroRosso にパワーユニットを供給することに決まりました !

          1. @coldfly Sorry, I didn’t notice that before, so thanks for that. The translation is as follows: 2021-nen @redbullracing, @ToroRosso decided to supply a power unit. I happen to know Japanese to a relatively decent extent (relatively well for a non-Japanese at least), albeit it’s mainly thanks to Anime, but still.

  3. I posted this on this site 2 years ago !
    So Red Bull use Toro Rosso as a further season long experiment for Honda to get their engine up to speed until 2019 when they switch RBR to Honda and sweep the deck !

    Anyone want next weeks lottery numbers !

    1. @smudgersmith1 I have always suspected (and warned) that Honda might simply be seeing if they can get the engine right before fully committing to a works team.
      How they would make the transition is debatable but taking over the Red Bull team would definitely make the most sense.

      Perhaps we should get together on those numbers ;)

    2. Distant 3rd in the WCC is at best ‘sweeping the deck’ on a lifeboat of the Titanic ;)

      @nullapax, taking over RBR might well have been the original plan.
      But the current fad of electrification will probably stop any mainstream manufacturer from taking over an F1 team in the current setting.

      1. @coldfly F1 went electrification in 2014 and will continue so with the new F1 in 2021. Hybrid is going to be here for quite a while since fully electric vehicles still lag behind in practicality and range…for now. That said I don’t see Honda taking over RBR anyway. Together they are like a works team as it is, so Honda needn’t go it on their own.

  4. Good news.
    The more companies involved the better in my opinion.
    Talented drivers all driving identical cars is the best way to find the best driver but I enjoy the added complexity that individual teams and engines etc bring to the sport.
    It creates far more interest for me even though it may mean gifted drivers missing out on wins due to a poor car or good cars under-performing due to mediocre drivers.
    They can bring back tyre wars and refuelling as far as I’m concerned.
    I follow F1 to be entertained – not because I worship one team or driver.

  5. I would assume it would be for more than just the 2021 season?

    I’m super happy about this, as a fan of Honda and Red Bull independently. I think it’s great for Red Bull to have a manufacturer partner, especially as they’ve proven in the past if they have that support and power they can take the title and that’s got to be good for the sport. Though also happy for Honda, after a terrible start in F1 with McLaren i really thought they might leave, to now winning races and sticking about in F1 is a pretty great turnaround.

    1. @rocketpanda, the current agreement is only for a one year extension to 2021 (they were already committed until the end of 2020).

      Honda have previously indicated that, whilst they are open to extending their commitment beyond that date, they want to review the 2021 regulation package and weigh up the potential long term funding requirements. It appears that, whilst they are interested in staying, they also want to cut back on their expenditure as, whilst they’ve spent heavily getting closer to the top teams, they don’t want to keep having to spend that heavily for the long term.

      1. @rocketpanda @anon I’m really stoked too. Personally I think Honda will stay longer than 2021. I think it is only onward and upward for them, and they have Newey and Max. Horner is no slouch at his job either.

        I think we have to assume Merc will still be the team to beat next year as the defending Champs, but hopefully RBR are closer to them. Then 2021 will only be one season of the unprecedented new era, and as I say they have the Newey/Max combo. I think 2021 could be stellar for them when one considers that’s a lot more Pu development time. But even if they aren’t ‘stellar’ I think they’ll still want to work the project and get to the top. I just won’t be surprised if they’re the benchmark in 2021.

  6. They will leave in 2022.

  7. re: “Their three wins this year is one fewer than they managed with their TAG Heuer-branded Renault engines last season.”
    Yes, but last year they had two top drivers!
    And I would also say it’s worth adding that a small team like Toro Rosso got on the podium twice this year – one for KVY, one for GAS. So… 3 wins for the big team, 2 podiums for the little sibling. I’d say that’s a good score card.

    1. @daniboyf1, mind you, how much of Toro Rosso’s improvement is because of the engine performance, and how much of it is because Red Bull have been pushing the limits of part sharing with Toro Rosso much more aggressively?

      In 2018, they announced they were going to share the maximum amount of parts possible between the works car and Toro Rosso from that date onwards. At least some of that jump in performance could be down to that increased sharing of components between the two teams and not necessarily just down to engine upgrades.

  8. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    27th November 2019, 13:34

    By my count that means 6 teams are more-or-less confirmed for 2021. McLaren and Williams are confirmed to have Mercedes power, while Williams also have Russell under contract for that season. Ocon is contracted to Renault and Perez to Racing Point, while Red Bull and Toro Rosso are also pretty much confirmed after this news. That leaves on Mercedes and the three Ferrari-powered teams to buy in to the new rules.

  9. Now that the engine regs are mature and stable, I wonder if the costs for making and supplying the engines go down. If so, then Honda may stick around if it doesn’t cost them a lot of money.

  10. Having a new contract from Honda for just one more year doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. Where will RedBull go if Honda pulls out? I doubt Ferrari or Mercedes will share thier engines with thier biggest competitor. And the Renault engine is substandard at best. So who does that leave? Nobody.

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