Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Honda building new F1 engine for 2021 title bid in final year

2021 F1 season

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Honda will produce a new engine for the 2021 Formula 1 season in a bid to win the championship in its final year before leaving the sport.

The Japanese manufacturer announced today it will leave F1 at the end of next year. But CEO Takahiro Hachigo vowed they will not abandon their pursuit of victory in the meantime.

“We still have seven races to go this season and next year we have another season,” said Hachigo in a Honda press conference today. “And then we’ll do our very best to try to win.

“For next [year] we will launch our new power unit so that together with the Red Bull we are going to aim for the season champion[ship].”

Honda returned to Formula 1 in 2015 after a seven-year absence. They initially supplied power units to McLaren, but the pair split at the end of 2017 after enjoying little success.

“The initial three years we have struggled very much,” said Hachigo, “but we overcame that and so far we have been able to claim five victories. So to some extent, I think we left a good track record with our wins.

“Next year, we will continue to do our best. So we hope that the fans will continue to stay by us and support us.”

Red Bull were first notified in August that Honda were considering not extending their contract beyond the end of next year.

“We have been thinking a lot of things over in our minds,” said Hachigo. “In August we communicated our thoughts to Red Bull Racing and we determined to conclude participation at the end of September.”

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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...

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32 comments on “Honda building new F1 engine for 2021 title bid in final year”

  1. If this is real i admire that. Because i expected they would just run the 2020 Engine and do almost no Development until they left the sport….

    1. Likewise. Seems mad to do this unless its effectively already completed

      1. They’re probably contractually obliged to keep developing it

        1. There’s also some pride involved

          Their latest stint in F1 would look a lot better if they could cap it off with a title

    2. The new engine surely is on the Dino already. So they lose nothing by using it to complete their contracted period with RedBull teams.

  2. Is there not basically a freeze on power unit development between this season and next?

    1. Nope, just on the car.

  3. I had a feeling RBR weren’t just finding out about this today along with the rest of us. Wonder if they’ve already started talks with Renault. With 2022 car development on hold due to the pandemic and the extension of the cars through next year, RBR will have plenty of time to consider the new pu in their design work for the wholly new cars. Honda, by announcing this now, gives RBR the time they’ll need.

    1. The “2022” car was the 2021 car, and that development started mid 2019 with a Honda PU in mind.
      Going all the way back to the conceptual designs to figure out the mount points, cooling, weight distribution, vibrations etc. really, really throws a wrench in the works.

    2. @robbie

      Maybe Red bull realised that leaving Renault for Honda was a bad idea to begin with, as we’ve argued plenty of times before. Their 2018 results were far better with Renault than their 2019 and 2020 results with Honda, despite having a works team status. In short, all parties knew that Honda was failing to deliver again, so it would just be a matter of time before Honda pulled the plug. So, you’re right.. Red bull probably were looking elsewhere before this announcement.

      It’s hilarious to see Horner and Marko eat humble pie and return to Renault. Their ego will surely take a beating.

      1. If I was Red Bull I would prefer to stop in F1 if Renault would be my only alternative. This is the first year Renault is more or less doing okay with the power unit. The first year since 2014! No wonder RB prefered to step in the unknown Honda project instead of the staying in the trash they already knew.

  4. Perhaps if Honda are no longer interested in continuing this kind of engine but are intent on building a new one, maybe Red Bull are willing to buy the IP off them? Seems odd to continue developing a unit for only one year, unless Red Bull are goign to continue it onwards.

    1. There were several models prepared to keep upgrading twice each year so i think that engine is just the latest model they developed and is due next year.
      If austin Martin didn’t buy RP i think RB would take over the IP from Honda. But which engine is Red Bull going to get after Honda left certainly not Renault they burned so Mercedes or Ferrari for Red Bull?

    2. Honda will not sell the IP to this engine to another company, I don’t think that’s how they operate as a company.

      I’ve been involved in downhill mountain bike racing for years, in the mid-2000s Honda turned up out of the blue and blew everyone else out of the water with the bike they made. Prototype monococque frame with an internal gearbox which could be shifted whilst coasting without pedalling, Showa suspension etc. Nobody was allowed near it and a few years later they pulled out of the sport, remembering for a second that these are just mountain bikes and pros ex-bikes end up for sale all the time a lot of people were keen to get their hands on one.

      Honda took all the bikes back to the factory and crushed them all so as not to have any data fall into anyone else’s hands.

      1. Damn I never knew that, that seems enormously excessive! If Red Bull don’t get access to buying those engines, I can’t see them sticking around. They can’t have a Merc, probably don’t want a Ferrari and Renault don’t want them, so… I can’t see they’ve got much choice than try to build their own, get a new supplier or leave. And of those options… leave seems the most likely.

        1. Renault have to supply them doesn’t matter what they want.

          1. Yeah but why on earth would both parties trust eachother?

      2. @grandmasterorge What a horrible attitude to have towards engineering. Surely ultimately most engineers want to create solutions for the betterment of humanity. Yes as a company you want to make money on your investment but when money is no longer an object why would you throw away a good idea.

  5. Honda’s strategy doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Now that they are winning some races they decide to leave exactly when there is going to be a major technical regulation change but then they are going to build a new engine for their last year in F1 in a desperate bid to win a championship just to throw it away in the following year.

    1. The Honda way.
      Yo shina weird kangai
      Good product weird thinking.

    2. They are plain stupid. Even a donkey doesn’t fall into the same hole twice. But Honda sure knows when to exit the sport at the wrong moments.

    3. If you look at ir from a budget point of view it is not so weird. The budget fir this year was available and so a new engine for next year is largely finished. They will probably cut their budget for next year, so no new updates in 2021, but why would they flush the money they spent this year down the toilet as wel..

  6. Perhaps this explains Cyril A’s Delphic comments about partner teams. He is laying out the conditions for supply to the RedBulls.

    1. I dont understand why all people think RB will be present after 2021

  7. Let’s say they win all titles next year with RB. Will that redeem their utter failure at McLaren and the long years of inch by inch improvement from that nadir?

    To cut and run just when they turn things around…. that’s weird. There is a word for it in Japanese I guess. There sure isn’t in English.

    1. That’s what Rosberg did. Too hard to sustain over an extended period so why not go out on a high.

  8. someone or something
    2nd October 2020, 13:35

    It amazes me how they keep coming up with new ways of not making sense in the slightest. Great entertainment.

  9. New power unit? What about the engine freeze, or are there no restrictions to development any more?

    1. If there is a engine freeze only Mercedes profits.
      ( and Ferrari is screwed for years to come)

  10. F1 exists to allow Mercedes to dominate.

    Smart of Honda to cut their losses.

    1. Even if you don’t wear a tin foil hat it is easy to understand why only a view car makers join F1. With only big conglommerates remaining, the only way to really make your brand stand out is by winning, as lomg as only one of them is doing that in the past six years, the rest will just vanish.

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