Honda technician, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Honda to quit Formula 1 after 2021 season

2020 F1 season

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Red Bull and AlphaTauri power unit supplier Honda has confirmed it will leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season.

The team first revealed on social media today it would “conclude participation in [the] FIA Formula 1 World Championship.”

The Japanese manufacturer, which has participated in F1 on three previous occasions in the past, has won five races since its last return in 2015.

It originally rejoined the sport with McLaren. However the two split after three unsuccessful years, leading Honda to partner with Toro Rosso. That led to an expanded deal under which they also supplied Red Bull with engines from 2019.

Red Bull and Honda scored their first of four wins together in the ninth race of the season at the Red Bull Ring. Their most recent success came at Silverstone this year, and Red Bull-Honda lie second in the constructors’ championship. Honda also scored a surprise second win this year with its other team, now renamed AlphaTauri, at Monza.

Nonetheless Honda has decided to terminate its F1 project at the end of next season. In a statement the manufacturer said it “needs to funnel its corporate resources in research and development into the areas of future power unit and energy technologies, including fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and battery EV (BEV) technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies.”

Red Bull said: “We would like to thank them for their exceptional efforts as a power unit supplier and look forward to continued success for the remainder of 2020 and 2021.”

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said the team “respect the reason behind Honda’s decision to focus on environmental initiatives and to strive for the realisation of carbon neutrality”.

“Everybody at Scuderia AlphaTauri wish them well in reaching all their goals and to have a successful future ahead,” he continued. “We sincerely want to thank Honda for the fruitful cooperation, we really enjoyed every day we’ve been working together.

“It won’t be easy to find an engine partner like Honda but, of course, we will start looking at all possibilities to find the best power unit solution from 2022 onwards.”

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Statement from Honda

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has decided to conclude its participation in the FIA 1 Formula 1 (F1) world championship as a power unit supplier at the end of the 2021 season.

In 2015, Honda resumed competition in F1, the most prestigious automobile racing series in the world, with the goal to win using its own energy management technologies. Initially, Honda experienced a number of difficulties; however, by demonstrating the collective strength of “All Honda,” including the utilisation of its aircraft engine technologies, Honda has realised a high level of competitiveness.

Moreover, as a result of the growth Honda achieved together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia
AlphaTauri under a strong partnership with both teams, Honda was able to attain its goal of earning victories with three wins last season and two wins* so far in the 2020 season.

In the meantime, as the automobile industry undergoes a once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation, Honda has decided to strive for the “realisation of carbon neutrality by 2050.” This goal will be pursued as part of Honda’s environmental initiatives which is one of the top priorities of Honda as a mobility manufacturer.

Toward this end, Honda needs to funnel its corporate resources in research and development into the areas of future power unit and energy technologies, including fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and battery EV (BEV) technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies. As a part of this move, in April of this year, Honda created a new centre called Innovative Research Excellence, Power Unit & Energy. Honda will allocate its energy management and fuel technologies as well as knowledge amassed through F1 activities to this area of power unit and energy technologies and take initiatives while focusing on the future realisation of carbon neutrality. Toward this end, Honda made the decision to conclude its participation in F1.

Motorsports activities are 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.

In F1, in order to fulfil the expectations of its fans, Honda will work together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri to continue competing with its utmost effort and strive for more victories all the way to the end of the 2021 season.

With its “challenging spirit” cultivated through motorsports activities, Honda will take on the new challenge of the future realisation of carbon neutrality.

Honda will appreciate the continuous understanding and support for its motorsports activities and for the new challenge of Honda.

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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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288 comments on “Honda to quit Formula 1 after 2021 season”

  1. Horrible news for everyone involved.

    1. Nothing new here. Honda has done this before. They are in for learning and technology development. When satisfied it’s good bye were out again. Can Acura be far behind?

    2. Indeed but not unexpected.

    3. Maybe this is what F1 needs. It is clear that the current formula of ultra-regulating of every single aspect of the cars isn’t working. (1) it is not standard enough to have all cars close enough to give good pilots the opportunity to excel and (2) it is not as free as it was before that could allow ingenious ideas to come out to be able to neutralize the advances of other teams.

      Really, I prefer seeing them expending money in lighter batteries, better energy recovery systems or even other kind of fuels such as ammonia or even hydrogen than expending it in slightly better aero profiles and simulators. Only safety, standard sizes and cost should be regulated, use as many cars, units and fuel you want if it is within budget. That would bring crazy innovative technology to F1 again.

      On the other hand, F1 can drift to spec formula, that would give the driver more weight in the performance of the team.

      Really, something in between could be a fair solution. Something like a race with different cars to really evaluate the technology of the teams, coupled with a spec race, where all the drivers would race with the same car, the winner car of the previous season. That would provide extra income to the winner team, we would enjoy better and better cars, Technology would spread quickly to other teams, while fans would be able to see both, a fair teams’ technology championship and a fair drivers championship.

      That is not going to happen, but it would be nice. Instead the F1 will continue fading away with the eternal problem of not being a spec series while not wanting to be a spec series.

      1. F1 better not become a spec series, and continue as a manufacturers championship disguised as a drivers championship.

  2. Wow, that’s a big news!
    I wonder if this is any indication of COVID related financial impacts to the Auto Manufacturers, and if anyone else will do the same around all major forms of motorsports.

    1. Suspect it might be related to problems they are facing in MotoGP as well. Also Honda might just sell all IP to RB so RB can start making their own engines.

      1. This would be the cleanest outcome I think – and would put RB on a par with Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault as top-line teams who make their own engines. It’s not the 1980s any more, where finding a company to make you an engine was comparatively easy. They must look at McLaren, whose resistance to being an engine supplier has been a major factor in their decline.

        1. @casanova except that’s just not true. McLaren’s decline was poor management and a poor chassis. Red Bull themselves have proven you don’t need to be an engine manufacturer to win, having won races with Renault engines in the hybrid era. Rules are now in place to ensure that all constructors, whether engine supplier or customer, get the same engine with access to the same settings. At the moment nobody except Mercedes is winning, because Mercedes are simply far too dominant. With the regulation change in 2022, everything is up in the air.

          I’d love to see Red Bull have a shot at building their own engines, but either way they’ll be fine

        2. This would be a much bigger investment and a much bigger risk for RB. I suspect they’d rather exit the sport than build their own engines.

          These PU’s are massively complicated, and if automotive giants with centuries of experience struggle to bring power and reliability, imagine the undertaking for a group with _no_ engine building experience, IP or no IP!

          1. Not if get people to oversee the development, one of those would be Andy Cowell who’d lead the things on the engine front.

          2. ” While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. Only this and nothing more.”
            Is there anyone home (or awake) at the FIA.?
            This is F1, innovate and develop or die. Honda could give RedBull the technology and IP, but in 12 months it, while not obsolete, would be falling behind.
            The Power Unit rules and costs need to be reset.

        3. Agree fully @casanova

    2. As Honda put it. Their focus is “…….to strive for the realization of carbon neutrality by 2050” I have been bleating on here for years about F1 having a regulation in the rules that delimits hydrogen or full electric and limits combustion………….but as as the ‘bring back the V8s’ brigade keep shouting and F1 keeps its head in the sand its demise comes ever closer. First the sponsors, then the manufacturers and now the engines.

      1. @machinesteve what a load of rubbish. As disappointing as it is that Honda are withdrawing, the current engine regulations aren’t enough for them. Even if a return to V8s or V10s meant that Renault and Mercedes withdraw as well, F1 would survive just fine with a single engine supplier. If anything, it would make the racing even closer and chassis development would be more important. Alternatively, it may see smaller suppliers, like Cosworth, returning.

      2. You’re confusing sporting spectacle with technological relevance. Fans don’t come to be amazed by technology they don’t have the faintest understanding of. They come to see the fastest cars in the world making thrilling noises. F1 has continually made the mistake of accommodating the tech regs to automakers who want the veneer of relevance. Had they not done that, we could still have a strong field of independents that don’t pull out willy nilly.

        1. Exactly. A weird part of me hopes Mercedes or Renault do pull in the plug in the near future to force some serious change on the engine front. Who wants to go another 5 years with so few works teams :/

        2. Well said, Nick. Bang on, absolutely spot on.

  3. I couldn’t see this coming, and especially so suddenly, both a shock and a shame. I wonder what this will do to the two affected teams regarding the short-term future from next year.

    1. Correction: From 2022.

    2. Start making their own engines, given Honda has given them 1.5 years advanced notice. Honda sells IP to Red Bull in coming months so they get the infrastructure in place during 2021.

      1. RBAT would need to obtain and operate through Mugen which could be ultra expensive. Probably more than RBR would be willing to pay.

      2. You don’t know Japanese if you think they will sell their IP to a third party.

    3. It’s been on the cards for years. ICE is a dying engine tech, hybrid is a transitional tech. Once the majority of road car sales are electric Renault and Merc will pull out to.
      F1 is dead, long live Formula E!

      1. A comedian 🤣

      2. I do my best to enjoy Formula E but it won’t compare with any version of F1 until they can get enough power onboard to get off the slot racer tracks and the teams can show their differences with their own PU/aero/chassis… 3-10 years?
        Liberty need to solve the engine supply problem or they won’t survive. I expect they’ll be exploring the possibility of the rights to produce a stock engine, if Honda doesn’t want any money for their design (a doubly stranded asset) then, unless 2022 is already completely sorted, I expect it to come from the next domino, likely Alpine.

  4. Leaving when? This week, next season… or a little later? RBR going back to their fav hybrid power unit supplier, Renault?

    1. Oh… 2021. Gives Horner some extra time to schmooze his old pal, Cyril.

      1. Cyril: I am inevitable.

        1. inevitable indeed. who else could give them engines?

        2. If that’s the case I guess Red Bull is out of F1.

    2. I guess now is the right time for some to start saying nice things about others.

      1. RedBull will quit as well. No surprise either

        1. Good riddance. Most useless ton can of all times.

  5. That’s a real shame, they were making such progress and, with Red Bull, had taken the fight to Mercedes (legally).

  6. Damn this is massive. I can hardly see Renault wanting to take Red Bull back. Is this step 1 to seeing Red Bull get sold?

    1. @eurobrun I very much doubt it personally. Red Bull is still reaping the benefits from F1, and is still going relatively strongly. Absolute worst case scenario here is Red Bull are forced to go back to Renault (hardly a downgrade on Honda), and will remain among the best teams in F1 post 2021. Even if Red Bull wanted to sell, I’m not sure how many manufacturers or billionaires would be lining up to spend a lot of money on purchasing an F1 team right now.

      1. @mashiat @eurobrun
        Well, Lawrence Stroll comes to mind if he’d want to get himself two F1 teams instead of one and make the other a B-team for Aston Martin Racing Team or something. I don’t know, just something that came to my mind when reading your posts.

      2. Maybe Roger Penske will step in.

        1. The man is waaaaay too smart for that.
          No option for an “Unfair Advantage”.

      3. Dimitry Mazepin

    2. @eurobrun
      At this moment, it does seem possible. But I believe it will be Alpha Tauri that will be sold first.
      Secondly, I do believe that Red Bull will try to make amends with Renault. After all, they’ve got a fantastic crew and a fantastic driver. They wouldn’t want to give it away at the first sign of distress…

  7. That’s pretty seismic news, I wonder who Red Bull will turn to? Bridges with Renault may have been burnt but surely they can be rebuilt.

    1. I wonder if in this day and age there is room for any kinda of “Mugen-Honda” style arrangement? Perhaps might allow Torro Rosso to continue using the last spec of Honda engines for a bit longer?
      I guess unlikely to be financially viable.

    2. Renault has lost it’s only customer with McLaren leaving for Mercedes. Developing an engine for only one team will be expensive. I think Red Bull returning to Renault (for a price) will be the most likely option.
      Second most plausible will be Ferrari.

      1. @paeschli – a great point. Money talks and Renault will be after customers, it’s not cheap developing an F1 power unit!

        And the engines they have seem better and more reliable than the ones which were blowing up in VER/RIC’s Reb Bulls a few years ago! As long as the reliability is there and there’s power to the challenge at the front then Red Bull Renault isn’t such a bad thing.

    3. Honda has the worst possible timing. Last time it was when Brawn had set them up to win. Now when Red Bull are really making strides!

      1. Maybe Wolff will join his mate at Aston Martin, take some engineering staff with him and Max will get a seat at Mercedes 2.0 to replace Vettel.

        Max is a unique driver because he ticks 2 boxes: He is both a young up-and-coming driver *and* an experienced driver!

      2. Yes, going by this, Red Bull is destined to become world champions in 2022.

      3. In what way is Red Bull making strides? They are further behind Merc than they were last year. The only thing that changes is that Ferrari is no longer cheating, so they are clearly second now.

      4. 2022 Alpha Tauri gets the championship on the hands of Gasly with Renault or Porsche/VW engine. Everytime Honda leaves they have a good engine or car, i dont get why the lack of commitment when they are going strong.

  8. This could be the end of Red Bull Racing. They have threatened several times to quit when they don’t have a good engine and I think they will do it. Verstappen will look elsewhere.

    1. The more gossipy sites have been talking of Max’s exit clause conditions in the last few days… I guess this news could be the trigger (particularly if RB don’t have an engine due to the OEM team’s correct fear of being beaten by RB’s superior chassis).

      The story about “F1 is not WWE” is quite telling: what is F1 then? Today is a day that will go down in history as fundamentally affecting F1. F1 is obviously not the fore-front of auto OEM technology (can I have a road car with a MGU-H in it, say, 7 years after it was introduced? No). It’s not entertainment, however excited the commentators might get at a DRS pass.

      1. Mercedes need to pay Bottas off and get Max into their second car.

        1. They don’t nee to. Bottas only has a 1 year contract for 2021 and Verstappen will trigger hiscexit clause at the end of season 2021. Will we finaly see Hamilton vs Verstappen……POPCORN

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          2nd October 2020, 11:00

          Verstappen will be a good replacement for Hamilton when the time comes, but I bet Hamilton and Verstappen would be pretty close and it may well end in more crashes and contacts as well as possibly less points in the constructors. This was already the case with hamilton and Rosberg. The amount of times they came together, caused damage or took eachother out cost the team a lot of points. Not that that mattered with 2014 – 2016 dominance. In a way, Bottas is better for the team than Rosberg was. Two great drivers are not always a good combination in one team. And I think Bottas is possibly the best number 2 driver on the grid.

          1. Gains in marketing would definitely make up for a few lost points, although what lost points? Verstappen would surely outscore Bottas, it’s almost the case even now. That would cover a few lost points here and there. Global interest in F1 is dropping, there’s not a single rivalry, there’s not a single battle left. Hamilton fights one average driver for 1st place, Verstappen only fights one below average driver for 3rd. The real battle is in the midfield, but that doesn’t really sell tickets and TV rights, nor it inspired the future generations. I don’t get people who enjoy this mentality where teams must avoid the fight and play it extremely safe (even though that doesn’t guarantee better results). We don’t talk about a public transportation company, but an F1 racing team.

          2. I have to agree. Although I’d love to see HAM & VER in the same car, I expect the team would finish lower in the championship (battles between team mates costing time and points) and be less likely for one of them to become WDC (due to each taking points away from each other).

            We can dream though!

      2. Its a sport, obviously.

  9. how big is the smile on cyrill face right now?

    i don’t see mercedes giving engines to red bull, we know ferrari aren’t giving red bull the same engines they have.. so the only option is still renault. unless some other manufacturer steps in.

    it’s a shame that honda leaves now that their engine is competitive.

    1. we know ferrari aren’t giving red bull the same engines they have

      Customer teams receive the same engines, hardware and (if requested) software.

      1. @coldfly And we all know how competitive that Ferrari-package is at the moment…

      2. @coldfly I interpreted that as the Ferrari engines being worse than Honda, not that Ferrari would stiff Red Bull with a worse engine than their other customers or indeed the factory team would receive.

        1. I see, @bookgrub.
          Thanks for clarifying; I agree with that.

      3. Yeah, that’s what the rules say. And that is why Ferrari is never going to sell PU’s to any other team than a crap team. Not that any good team would want their engines, but that will probably change over time.

    2. Cyril is mandated by rules he helped make to supply Red Bull with engines if they need them, because his engine is the only engine without customer teams.

      So if he’s smiling, it’s only because he’ll at least have more on-track data and a bit of help with his budget, I assume.

      1. He is smiling … for sure, Horner must knock on Renault door if he want an engine.

        1. Sure, but he doesn’t have to knock on the door and get on his knees and beg.

          Red Bull can literally go to Merc and Ferrari, get denied, and then knock on Renault’s door and say, “Cool, you’re gonna give us engines, where do we sign?”

          1. How does the ‘gueranteed PU supply’ rule work.
            If RBR were to knock on Renault’s and Ferrari’s door first and get the cold shoulder, are they then guaranteed Mercedes PU’s?

          2. @coldfly No, the engine supplier with the least customers has to supply the team without an engine supplier. So Renault can’t turn them down.

          3. Renault will dictate terms, if they give them engine. One of the reason for split with McLaren was Renault, who want to share technology with/from McLaren . Will se how Horner will like that….🤪

    3. we know ferrari aren’t giving red bull the same engines they have

      Well, the old Sauber-deal with the year-old ferrari engines sounds a lot better now than it did Back in the day :^)

    4. Cyrils days are numbered too

    5. Danny Ric Fan
      3rd October 2020, 1:17

      Hmm, RB doesn’t have a lot of options here. Build their own PU, or kiss Renault’s ass and beg to come back. Marko is way too big of an egomaniac to be Renault’s bitch, or to take a huge step backwards by developing their own. Ferrari has too much arrogant pride to let yet another customer team humiliate them during races, and Merc already supplies 2 (3 next year) teams with engines. What to do, what to do!

  10. So Mercedes are unlikely to supply Red Bull, Ferrari still see them as competitiors, so this might leave Red Bull having to return back to Renault. That’s a big “oof” might there.

    1. I think RedBull will simply quit too. Why wouldnt they? They’ve been talking about it for a long time. And there is no future in F1. Lets face it, Liberty failed. There is no reason d’être anymore

  11. Cyrill probably phoned Alonso to tell him personally!

  12. Honda have always been fair-weather competitors. Let’s hope Red Bull and AlphaTauri don’t go the way of the other teams Honda have left in the lurch over the years.

    1. @red-andy

      Let’s hope Red Bull and AlphaTauri don’t go the way of the other teams Honda have left in the lurch over the years.

      What, like the last team they last left in the lurch which went on to win 7 of the following 11 constructors and drivers championships?

      1. I was thinking primarily of Jordan, who never recovered from being dumped by Honda midway through a contract, but since you bring up Team Brackley, a large number of jobs were lost – and Honda wouldn’t have cared if all of them had been.

        1. That last statement is way to harsh, as I understand it Brawn GP was largely paid for by Honda while they were not on the car. That saved a lot of jobs.

  13. I guess Horner should ask Brawn how to fit a Mercedes in the back and roll up the championship.

    1. Zing! @coldfly

      Alsono is coming back… why not Jenson? ;-)

      1. And Barichello to fight with Raikkonen and Alonso for the most race starts.

        I guess it’s time to start a senior tour.

    2. @coldfly I know it’s a joke, but integrating a modern V6 turbo is quite a bit more complicated than a N/A V8.

      1. (serious question @jerejj)
        Why would it be more difficult to fit in this PU vs the ’09 one? The PU is like a single piece coming in a crate from the PU supplier.
        I know that working on the engine modes to fit your car and fuel/lubricant can be a bit tricky, but they do that work now as well.

        1. @coldfly the PU isn’t like a crate motor. The positions of radiators and such vary quite a bit and the monocoque (chassis) is built with them in mind. That’s why the development tokens came about – to enable Mclaren to re-design their chassis to accept the Mercedes PU.

        2. @coldfly @gardenfella72 already elaborated, but yes, the modern V6 turbos are generally more complicated than the naturally aspirated V8 (or V10s for that matter, etc.,) used before, so it isn’t simply about taking away the PU of manufacturer x and putting another manufacturer’s PU in place without doing anything else.

  14. An engine manufacturer leaving, and specifically mentioning the technologies that then think are the future is a big message to F1 that their discussions about the future of the power train to be used is looking in the wrong direction.

    The efficiencies that the manufacturers have made with the current power units is incredible, but ICE is dead and F1 is barking up the wrong tree with their bio fuels discussions.

    1. I wonder if Honda thinks that they have gotten everything from F1 they can, technology and research wise. Since we all know how ridiculously expensive F1 is, Honda probably don’t have any good financial or technical reason to stick around anymore.

      Let’s not be so quick to decide F1 is going toward a irreversibly wrong direction. They have time and scope to steer away & figure out a sustainable set of technical regulations.

    2. The PR message is probably not the best indication for the actual reason. It’s just an excuse to make it look like “we’re super good for the environment, that’s why we’re leaving” rather than “we can’t beat the competition so we’re out” or “we’re in dire need of money and can’t afford F1.”

      The engine development being frozen means the development costs would be limited, this was done because the engine developers wanted this from FOM. I doubt that’s the actual reason Honda is bowing out.

      1. Wholly agree

    3. @jodrell

      That’s just PR talk. It looks better to say we’re interested in green technologies and F1 isn’t that, than admit COVID hit hard and they cannot justify the money spent in F1 anymore.

    4. ICE is dead? get real. don’t know where you leave? literally almost every car out there uses an ICE…

      1. As long the electrical grid remains as stupid and inefficient as it is now, ICE will be alive for a long long while yet.

    5. Spot on. The automotive industry is changing dramatically.

      Right now, EVs are the only thing that is getting any development time. Regulations mean they might even be the only thing you can buy in 10 years time.

      Even an F1 Hybrid is the wrong message in the current market.

      (by the way, I don’t think pure electric is the answer – but that is the direction mainstream transportation is going in)

    6. Indeed. Their statement seems to indicate a huge divergence in the direction F1 is going towards and where Honda wants to put its R&D investment. This is terrible news for F1.

      But with engine development frozen, isn’t it cheaper to continue in F1 now? Honda can spend their R&D towards other areas while maintaining just a F1 engine production facility at a cheap price, can’t they?

    7. Volkswagen made a similar decision a while back and at the time people were wondering if the VW decision would have a trickle down effect. Apparently it did, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others followed. Carbon neutral is the new target and F1 doesn’t provide manufacturers a path to get there.

      1. Took me a little while to find the link but here it is

  15. NeverElectric
    2nd October 2020, 9:16

    F1 heading to be a 2-engine series, like Supercars? Mercedes don’t look like they’re in it for the long haul, esp given the almost blatant anti-Mercedes moves that F1 has been making recently in response to the Germans’ dominance in the championship. Renault and Ferrari might be the only engine manufacturers left in the series come 2023….

  16. Shame really, they were making incredible progress.

    I hate to sound negative, but at this point they need to just stay away from the sport. They’ve shown they’re not committed to F1. They quit in 2008 with a fantastic chassis 95% completed, and now they’re taking their ball and going home again while having a good and still improving engine. It’s nice Honda gave some notice with their decision, but at the end of the day, they’ll be know as two time quitters.

    They’re becoming similar to the quit happy Volkswagen Group.

    1. @jeffheinick Three-time quitters at least as this isn’g going to be the second time they’re leaving F1. The occasion of leaving at the end of 2008 wasn’t the first one.

    2. Mercedes has been in and out of tge sport too you know, as has Ford and others. F1 is all about money.

    3. So we’re gonna ignore the fact that pre-21st century Honda exists when they quit after winning championships?

    4. Would it please you if Honda stayed in F1 at the cost of cutting thousands of production line jobs? Just Like Mercedes are?
      And you seem to have forgotten about something called ‘GFC’. The global economy is hardly sparkling right now or into the foreseeable future, is it?

      They leave when they aren’t making money. That’s all F1 is for to any manufacturer.
      The state of F1 only confirms and reinforces their decision to leave.

      1. When you want to sell more cars you need to advertise. F1 is actually a very efficient and reasonably cheap means of doing that. Mercedes got them and their partners $5.5 billion worth of advertising last year. For spending perhaps a tenth of that.

        Of course Honda would mostly have had negative attention during the McLaren years, but since Ferrari has dropped away Honda somehow looks like a giant slayer (even though they are not any closer to Mercedes than they ever were) so that should help them sell some cars making up for the cost of F1

        1. Good example with Mercedes. How many staff are they laying off? 10,000?

          Honda aren’t doing F1 the same way Merc are, anyway. They aren’t winning, for starters, or collecting commercial income and prize money as a team.
          With only one serious performance car in their line-up, they really don’t have much to gain, and the global economy is tearing them to shreds. It’s not acceptable in Japan to keep blowing money on defeat.

          1. They aren’t winning, but like I already said, even coming in second is seen as something amazing these days.

            Either way, F1 pays for itself. I get the knee jerk reactions to pull out, but I would say when times are bad you especially need to make sure your piece of the pie is bigger. Which is achieved by advertising.

            I remember when ING were forced to pull out of F1. Also during a crises, people were laid off, banks were bailed out yadda yadda yadda. The reality was that ING were doing massive deals at the races where they entertained potential customers. These deals alone where making them more than the F1 investment cost them. Then additionally on top of that they had the marketing effect. F1 was a huge benefit, but “the knee jerked” and they had to pull out.

        2. 99% of Mercedes cars are boring to say the least. Not one serious car lover drives a Mercedes. its a taxi or a rented car. Or if you are a salesman with lots of km under your belley.
          But looking for a sports car Mercedes does nog really comes to mind. AMG a bit ( for the pimps e.a)
          So i do not think F1 really has had an quantifiable aspect on the sales,
          Of course i Exaggerate a bit but still…..

          1. That Mercedes AMG GT sells quite a lot relatively. They are only beaten by the Porsche 911 on sales. They sell 6 times as many of those as Audi R8 or Aston Vantage.

            Also, Mercedes sold 1.5 million cars over 2013 (already a record at the time). During 2019 they sold 2.3million. They nearly doubled their sales! over those championship winning years.

          2. erikje

            99% of Mercedes cars are boring to say the least. Not one serious car lover drives a Mercedes.

            And how many have you driven, let me guess…none.

  17. What about VAG, could they be interested with Audi branding?

  18. Looks like RB will be crawling back to Renault, because they have no other choice. Well, who could’ve seen that coming 😁

  19. If it is, as they say, because of a focus on more environmentaly friendly options (which sounds reasonable in the current day and age) it’s bad news for F1, for reasons mentioned above by @jodrell.

    If they quit over financial reasons it’s bad news that after years of trying and throwing millions of Yens at it, they still didn’t manage to get to the level Mercedes is at (and has been since the start of the turbo-hybrid ear). It’s ridiculous that engines at the same time are so complex and so important in the current format.

    1. Why so?
      It’s called motorsport, isn’t it?
      It was far more ridiculous back in those days when engines were frozen and it was all about aero and stuff.
      The times of Red Bull’s wins.

      1. Sorry, the bold wasn’t intentional

        1. I thought it was a bold statement already ;)

          It’s called motorsport, that’s true. Often F1 is even referred to as the pinnacle of motorsport. It attracts the best engineers from all around the world. Besides the ones working at Mercedes there’s nine other teams where top notch engineers are working day in day out to achieve engineering perfection. To be clear: I don’t want to talk down any of Mercedes’s achievements, but for any of their competitors there has to be some kind of perspective. Some light at the end of the tunnel. In the end F1 is business, not philanthropy. If you put in money on one end, you want either results, knowledge you can relate to your product, or at least good PR-exposure on the other end. If most of those results are ‘meh’ at best and don’t seem to get better in the near future without injecting more money (or bending the rules), I can understand that it isn’t an interesting investment.

          Of course you could say: ‘If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen’, but if only one team (whether it is Mercedes or any other team) achieved proper fireproofing over the years and the others are just burning their money, I think F1 has a serious problem with the challenge they’ve created over the years for (new) (engine) manufacturers.

          1. Rules are written all together, aren’t they?
            Honda was not present when the 2014 book of rules was prepared, but they chose to embrace the challenge.
            5 years after, they are quitting,already, having won 5 races.
            Seems to me a very bad management decision.

      2. Itvstill is about aero too you know. Red Bull did a great job back then, with an underpowered Renault.

        1. Nowadays it’s ALSO about aero. Not “only” aero.
          Back in RB days, the engines were pretty much all equally competitive, because frozen, and Newey chose Renault because it allowed him to design a narrower car in certain areas.

  20. This is where the FIA have to step in and permit another supplier to enter under different conditions. Porsche had a development chain up and running for a V6 Hybrid to F1 regs but then focussed on WEC. Hopefully, with a year of advanced notice, Porsche can be convinced to enter as a Red Bull Porsche outfit. I think that Red Bull and Alpha Tauri will be falling to the back of the grid soon, unless they can convince Toto to sell them engines to really see who is the best car maker. Ferrari won’t and I cant see Renault accepting them back with open arms.

    Interesting times.

    1. This is where the FIA have to step in and permit another supplier to enter under different conditions. Porsche had a development chain up and running for a V6 Hybrid to F1 regs but then focussed on WEC.

      No point doing that to get one engine supplier in, if two leave as a result.

      Porsche quit because they didnt want to deal with the MGU-H I recall, the existing suppliers spent a lot of money on it and didnt want to change them so quickly.

  21. Wow this is massive news!!!!!! Just as their engines get up to a decent standard they quit?! Bizarre. Renault did say the other day that they’re looking for customer teams again…

    1. Well, we are in the middle of the worst economic recession in decades…..

  22. Very unsportsmanlike behaviour.
    I wonder how could Honda be considered a credible partner by anyone in the future…

    1. They are a car company, they shouldn’t care about sports for irs own sake.

      Also, this is a recession that is hitting everywhere badly. F1 itself is taking a hit. Honda may be the first of a domino (hopefully not).

      1. @yaru
        Indeed, they are not obliged too.
        They CHOSE to. And now they backed out once again , after 2009, because they were not able to sustain the challenge they had taken for themselves.
        That’s why I said they can’t be trusted anymore.
        Their commitment doesn’t worth a dime.

        1. Maybe you’d like to fund it for them?

          They can choose to come and go as they please – and it’s not for your benefit.

          1. It’s not me taking the decision to join in the first place.
            If you think a global corporation like Honda can afford to join the pinnacle of motorsport and then run away five years later, with just 5 race wins, good on you.
            I deem it as poor management.

          2. That’s exactly what they did – they joined F1, threw hundreds ogf millions at it, and now they are leaving.
            They tried their best, it didn’t work – why keep sinking money into this dead ‘racing’ series?

          3. Dead?
            Just LOL!

    2. @liko41 To be honest, Honda have pretty much delivered their end of the deal. Their engine is pretty much on par with Mercedes by at worst 20bhp. It’s Red Bul that is lacking now.

      1. Again, its not only the power of the ice, wich is very close indeed. The problem is in the hybrid thats a generation behind the merc.

        1. Nonsense, that bhp difference is peak difference for the whole powertrain in Q3 trim. That’s using the maximum of everything. Including all the hybrid stuff.

          So you are wrong again.

          1. the hybrid system is the only part behind Mercedes (but also the most expensive part) the Q3 thing is a very short time giving power draining the batteries it’s this part what is weaker then mercedes system which keep power longer avaiable.

          2. @macleod Not true. Those bhp figures include the hybrid deployment. Showing Honda only 20bhp behind at the peak.

          3. @f1osaurus you said not true but i was told by ….. that the only weak part was the hybrid deployment.recovery how they recovered energy from the turbo. So how do you know that it’s not true as i got the information from the Horse mounth to give a figure of speak.

            The Mercedes can deploy longer as they recover much faster/better energy then Honda. It’s kind of technical but the 20bhp at peak is not the only thing in a full round. Better said if the track is too long Honda runs out of energy so they have to deploy smart during that round (something here and there) while Mercedes don’t run out of juice.

            If you have the FIA datasheet of the ICE power and the electric deployment during a round of both cars i would be interested in that (because hearsay is always different then data)

            Thanks for your comment!

          4. @macleod Like I said the bhp figures include the hybrid. No need to hear from anyone.

            Sure there could be other issues, but “they” only look at the issue when it’s at it’s worst which is on Q3. During the race there is much less of a difference between the engines.

      2. @f1osaurus
        “Pretty much”, yeah.
        I guess all they were expecting when they joined in 2015 was to achieve 5 wins in 5 years.
        Great decision, then.
        Why continue?

        1. @liko41 That’s exactly my point? They went through all that money/effort and then the partners they work with don’t deliver. Indeed it makes no sense for them to continue.

          1. @f1osaurus
            You know, it would be pretty childish to accuse their partners of not delivering, when they threw their first three years in the sport on the bin, working with a driver they forced McLaren to hire (Alonso) and without even being able to compete a race on the leading lap.
            It takes time to make a partnership work. If your commitment only lasts three season, you probably don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

          2. @liko41 Childish? This is about business.

            Red Bull is not delivering while Honda has delivered an engine that is capable of winning races.

            Instead Red Bull/Verstappen is constantly complaining about the engine in that it’s slower on the straights. While that is a problem that Red Bull has caused themselves with their draggy design.

            It’s clear they are never going to win any credit with Red Bull. They can sit it out for a decade, but Red Bull has demonsrrated the same toxic behavior with Renault.

            Even when they won 4 championships in a row with Renault, Horner kept complaining how slow the Renault engine was. Also less than 20bhp down on Mercedes. Even though it got that back and more by using less fuel, being more drivable and the blown diffuser mappings. Still all that came from Red Bull was negative chatter.

          3. @f1osaurus
            Red Bull’s bad attitude towards engine partners was well known before this partnership started.
            But they have a car capable of winning races at least on par with the japanese engine.
            Running away from formula 1 now is the most utter nonsense ever by Honda.
            The epitome of poor management.
            I’d insist this is going to hurt their credibility in any future commitment in motorsport.

  23. This is an absolute disaster for RBR. I know it’s a way off at the minute but with a massive rules change in 2022 they must surely have been eyeing up going all-in on development of the 2022 concept. Having an engine partner lined up already would have been a massive part of that. Now they’ll be developing a car with a huge unknown over the powertrain and the integration. That’s if they even stick around that long. This could well be the end of RBR and AlphaTauri.

    1. End of red bull and toro rosso also means end of formula 1 ofc, considering new teams will be unable to enter given that 200 mil requirement.

      1. @esploratore Not literally. F1 would survive without this energy drinks company as it did before it entered as a team back in 2005. Yes, both Red Bull-owned teams leaving would drop the number of teams from 10 to 8 meaning 16 cars on the grid, but four teams (if I’ve calculated correctly) could have three instead of two to keep the number of cars overall at 20 as a stop-gap solution.

  24. This is a disaster for f1. Having again only 3 PU manufactures is very very bad situation, and surrely not at all good for the competition.

    1. @cosan Well, F1 had three PU-suppliers in 2014 and survived.

  25. Last time Honda quit the sport, the team won the championship the next year.

    So a Red Bull championship is all but confirmed in 2022.

    1. @paeschli LOL, a good way of looking at it. Time will tell if history repeated itself in this regard.

      1. @paeschli ‘repeats’

  26. Well, there have already been a general massive slaying of the “fun stuff” in the automotive world the last years. Putting massive amounts of cash on technology development on vehicles you dont earn any money on (BEVs) is a big challenge in the automotive world for everyone. The outrageous development costs for the current F1 powertrains isnt hepling either.

    A tight cost cap on engine development and not relying on manufcaturers to pour in gazillions into it would probably be a better way forward. They will be busy spending money on the boring stuff.

  27. Red Bull’s only ambition is to become world champion again. If there is something that the hybrid era has proven is that you cannot become world champion as a engine customer team, you have to be a works team. Maybe Red Bull needs to team up with Racing Point to persuade Aston Martin to supply engines…

    1. @matthijs Aston Martin doesn’t make engines. Mercedes is , once again, going to be the PU-supplier as per under the current and the previous team name.

      1. @jerejj Ah silly me, thanks for pointing that out.

    2. I can’t agree with the hybrid era comment: if there’s anything that era has proven it’s that you can only win with a mercedes, so ofc a non-mercedes customer can’t win, but if mercedes were less competitive, it’d definitely be possible.

    3. I mean, all the hybrid era had proceed is you can’t win unless you are Mercedes Benz. Their customer teams have been williams who have the worst chassis on the grid and major structural flaws in their team, and force india/racing point who have one of the lowest budgets of any team. The only year that a well funded well run customer team used Mercs was 2014 with mclaren where they decided to do their own fuel and lubricants and therefore were down in power.

      In fact if anything these regs are the best ever for the customer teams, they have to be given the same specs of engine, the option to use the same fuel and lubricants, the same software and modes. There is literally no benefit for the manufacturer over the customer except in the early it design stages.

      Just look at mclaren and Renault, mclaren the customer have a good chance of beating Renault the manufacturer.

  28. Very bad news for F1. Possibly good news for NASCAR though..

    1. @franco How? How would or could this concern Nascar to any extent? I don’t get the reference.

      1. I read something about Honda and Nascar on the other day, and now they quit F1.

        1. They’re focusing on BEV and FCV, why would they then join a series with an archaic engine formula.

        2. something

 that’s a reference we can work with.

        3. Honda Japan and Honda America are standalone companies.

  29. Cyril, if they come back on their knees charge them double! ;)

  30. Honda to Formula E..??

    1. Their latest statement talks about “Focusing on Electric Motors development”.
      So, i’d say it’s quite likely
      Another blow for F1, another win for FE.

  31. Hemingway (@)
    2nd October 2020, 9:37

    Time for a return to Ferrari? I’d like to see that.

  32. Betting my mortgage on Verstappen to Mercedes

    1. In 2023 when Hamilton retires as a 9 times world champion.

      1. guys, people keep saying that, but if I were Hamilton I would never retire if I kept winning titles. If Schumacher didn’t stop winning in 2005 & 2006 why would he retire? just my $0.02

        1. Because Luca di Montezemolo was playing politics.

        2. Prost had a good car for 1994, yet retired before.

    2. Well, it puts some pressure on the Hamilton negotiations about his salary.
      Mercedes would be fools if they pay an extra 6 million. Hamilton never leaves before he got the change to break the Schummi records. Now there is a very viable replacment Mercedes has strong cards.
      Hamilton with a much lower salary or replaced by Verstappen.

  33. In last couple years Red Bull fans were not fans of Renault power, not fans of Ferrari and their FIA deal, not fans of Mercedes dominance, so how will they take this? Their choices will likely be Renault or Ferrari, but why would Renault go back to them? And will Red Bull fans be happy with a Ferrari engine? Red Bulls best bet is to somehow buy Hondas F1 engine division.

    1. That’s the only bit of sense I’ve seen today. RBR could buy out the Honda F1 Engine division. If Honda are out of F1 in 22 they will only disband that division anyway, so why not sell it to Red Bull. They would become a full works team. Honda’s R&D department must be far down the road with design etc of the future post 2022 engine, as RBR with Newey will be with the chassis designed around the Honda. Its the only thing that makes sense.

      1. It would be better for Honda to sell their engine technology to Mugen. I’m not sure what they should do about their hybrid system, maybe sell that to Mugen too, but surely they’d want to keep the battery technology for themselves as that would be useful in their battery powered cars?

    2. I am a F1 fan ( does that count)
      Nobody was fan of renault engines in those years. How could you be?
      Cheating Ferraris are not the way to go to become champion ( although Binotto seems to think otherwise)
      Mercedes engines are by far the fastest and most reliable engines in the field. But Mercedes will no be allowed to support another team. So that choice is already out of the question.
      Renault will gladly return to RBR, they need an extra customer and at the same time a goal to reach in the RBR results.
      I guess FIA steps in and will order Renault to deliver. Now the engines are quite reliable its a viable option.

  34. Does this potentially open the door for Panthera to come in and purchase Red Bull and build a new relationship with Renault?

  35. This sport is too expensive.

    And Honda is very late to understand the dead of the ICE-vehicle.

    1. oh sure. just curious, do you drive a Tesla? LOL

    2. Yeah, there’s so few ICE cars left on the roads. It’s hard to buy one!

  36. Maybe and it’s a big maybe, Aston Martin in partnership with an independent engine manufacturer could be developing a unit for 2022. Not sure Merc are interested in supplying another team that leaves Ferrari or… oh dear a big serving of humble pie.

    1. Mercedes & toto wolff are shareholders in aston martin. Aston martin are not going to be developing a f1 engine when they get engines for their cars from Mercedes & already get f1 engines from Mercedes

    2. @johnrkh I don’t think the company who has gone bankrupt seven times in its history and whose stock price has been divided by 12 in the past two years has the money to build its own F1 engine.

      1. @paeschli I didn’t suggest they’d be doing it alone and I certainly didn’t say it was sure thing, and I am talking about the ICE side not the more expensive MGU-H/MGU-K which could be sourced from other suppliers. There are a lot of changes going on with some key people leaving and AM getting some very wealthy and influential investors, never say never.
        But I admit it is an outside possibility, also it would be good to see.

  37. Boom!

    Largest engine maker in the world turns it’s back on F1.

    They had good relations with RedBull, working quite admirably. But it was quite certain they wont win titles soon.

    As a JDM fan and Toyota driver, I would hope Toyota would enter.. but i won’t be holding my breath.

    Then again F1 is just not relevant to engine makers. Fastest growing carmaker in the world is Tesla. They hold key tech for the future, battery, electric powerplants, etc.

    F1 is developing crazy expensive engines, that will never be used in Honda cars. They could be developing batteries, regen, electric side, turbo, whatever. But no development is halted for next 5-6 years? To be competitive you need to match Mercedes in developing old-tech.

    Good question is why Renault and Ferrari are staying?

    I can see Renault leaving next.

    1. @jureo Ferrari stays because, if it quits, its stock market value would drop by a half in like 15 minutes.

      1. @jureo Ferrari still operates on the ‘race on Sunday, sell on Monday’ principle. It works for Mercedes too.

        The problem for Honda is that they don’t have prestige road cars like Ferrari and Merc.

        Renault are re-launching their sports car division, Alpine, and are re-branding their F1 team to match.

        It’s all about marketing and Honda don’t have anything to market.

        1. They are producing the new NSX, which is a direct competitor to Mercedes and Ferrari stock.
          Regardless, F1 is a brand awareness exercise more than being directly about selling a certain product. Just as it has been for Renault.

      2. Yeah I agree with Ferrari and Mercedes points. It works for Mercedes it sells for Ferrari.

        But Renault? What F1 DNA will be in that alpine? A turbo-electric engine with MGHR?

        Honda’s NSX is a Halo car only good for showing off, sales are slow. Only people who really want NSX will buy it, their competitors are Nissan and Lexus.

        F1 holds very little brand value for Honda. Whenever we read the news it was RedBull, nobody calls them RedBull wHonda.

        Especially nobody considers their success because of Honda, or Honda cars to be this good because they are in F1.

        For example when driving my Toyota Celica, I can feel their rally pedigree in the car. There is a grand total of 0 F1 pedigree in my car of that era.

        We all know Honda makes amazing engines, they can be involved with F1 or not and that won’t change. It is not like Renault, who stand to gain something, or Mercedes who turned from lazy elderly brand to remarkable sports car maker in public eyes.

        What can Honda position themself to be? The sporties car maker from Japan? Are they not there already?

        Engine regulations as stupid as they are literary mean you need to invest years of research and a bucketload of money to probably not be competitive with Mercedes. I predict no engine maker will join F1 while these regulations are in place.

        1. @jureo I also reckon that no car manufacturer is going to enter F1 as long as the engine formula remains entirely the same it’s been since 2014.

      3. Mmm… don’t think so. Then, Ferrari stays because F1 is really part of their heritage… and not because their value will drop by 50% next day.

  38. This is terrible news. My thoughts are with the team at Honda who have worked hard to turn the project around and produced a genuinely competetive PU that is still on a a strong upward development curve. This must be particularly bitter fopr them after the effort they have put in to the project.

    Mean while: “Dear Cyril, As I’m confident you already understand, any less-than complimentary exchanges that have passed between us have been purely as a result of the love and respect I have for you and your organisation, not to mention the genuine desire I had to see you fulfill your exceptional potential…”

  39. All the right reason for Honda to pull out. But this is a disaster news for F1 especially when any team can pull out next year season with early notification.

  40. F1 is a training ground for Honda engineers. If F1 has little relevance to Hondas way forward with engine development there is little point in continuing.

  41. Formula 1 – 2026 (the next Concorde):
    Chassis by Dallara
    Engine by Ilmor
    Tires by Pirelli

    vs Ferrari

  42. Duaine Randall
    2nd October 2020, 10:00

    Bring back cosworth

  43. Well I suppose this was the inevitable wake up call F1 needed. FE is where it’s at for manufacturers. Hybrids were always only going to be a stop-gap solution.

    1. Pity FE have exclusive rights to 100% electric open wheel racing! Though FIA can override it if they “wish”.

  44. Unimpressive… not that I had much praise for them to begin with. Took them over 5 years to finally make a decent engine, and its still causing problems

  45. The question is, if RBR won’t find an engine supplier ,which will probably the case since Ferrari and Mercedes don’t want to look ridiculous when RBR will beat them with their own PU and Renault…, are manufacturers (Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes) obliged per regulations to provide them with one ?

    1. @tifoso1989 I believe that Renault (as the engine supplier with fewest customers) will be obliged to supply both teams if required as per a change to the sporting regs a few years ago (I think this came in following the period in which Red Bull was potentially left without an engine supplier after they fell out with Renault).

      1. Dave,
        That would be epic though, Cyril and Horner reunited again !
        Thanks for the insight !

    2. One option is for Mercedes to split their racing team from the Mercedes High Performance Powertrains company. I’m not sure which one should retain the Mercedes brand name and which one should be rebranded as Daimler, Maybech, or whatever, or maybe even sell the team and just keep HPP. That way there’s no obvious “losing face” when a Red Bull or Aston Martin wins a race.

  46. This is horrible news for the sport, the more (good) engines suppliers the better.

    Having said that, Honda traditionally has an on and off relationship with F1. They stayed for 09 years years between 1983-1992, then 08 years between 2000-2008 and now 07 years. So, in some way, wasn’t or shouldn’t this have been predictable?

  47. And then the big question is will Red Bull continue?

    Another question is why they keep upholding this engine reg? It’s too complicated and therefore too expensive, meaning F1 is completely dependant on the biggest car manufacturers that only join motorsport went it benefits them.

    Good luck to Horner trying to keep it all together.

    This hybrid era of F1 might be the most destructive for it we have ever seen.

  48. Cosworth are back baby!

  49. Classic Honda – leave, just as they’re about to get some success.

    Frankly, if I were the money-man at Red Bull, I’d also bow out.

    1. Why? Most years they make a profit. Keep in mind they get lots of income directly and indirectly. It’s not just spend spend spend. Because the cost is balanced out by the income, it’s super efficient advertising.

      As reported on this site: As in 2018 Red Bull reported a relatively small profit, which fell from £923,000 to £618,000.

      1. Because:
        – They have no hope of a future works engine deal.
        – Thus, your star driver will want to leave asap.
        – Thus, Mercedes will remain unbeatable and you may well slip behind McLaren and Racing Point.
        – The budget cap is only going to make all the above even harder to achieve/beat.

  50. 2 words: share price.

    If you look at Auto stocks, if you aren’t called Tesla, according to the stock market, mainstream and social media, you are worthless. Stock market isn’t based on fundamentals anymore.

    This is why more mainstream manufacturers will leave F1 if it doesn’t suit their branding, in fact they may be forced to. This is why what De Meo has done with Alpine was necessary.

    Manufacturers will only continue involment for niche marketing purposes. Aston, Alpine, Ferrari for example. Mercedes may continue under the AMG guise. ICE is not cool anymore, let’s accept it. It’s not for the masses. EV, FCEV or what ever it is, that’s what’s in vogue.

    1. yep, change is happening faster than we can believe. F1 should be unleashing unlimited electric development with a regulated ice.

  51. Several quick notes and an overblown conspiracy theory:

    1) I don’t see any other possibility for Red Bull than Renault. And given the whole situation with constant changes of engines and a dropping chance of fighting for the championships, I won’t be surprised if they get rid of the second team. If not the whole F1 programme altogether. Mr Mazepin would be more than interested.

    2) Tsunoda’s chances of any F1 prospects are dropping quickly.

    3) Losing an engine supplier poses a serious challenge for F1 towards the future – are you going to significantly simplify the technical rules and lure more suppliers, or, wouldn’t it be more viable to go for standard engines (like they intended 10 or 12 years ago?). My money on the second option.

    4) Max will be trying to find his way out furiously.

    And this leads me to the conspiracy theory which seems more than plausible at the moment. Hamilton’s contract talks are a bit too quiet, which could mean, of course, more things – I’ve read somewhere that he plans to sign a three-year deal for 120 million and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if it came out of the blue. But given all the circumstances and a surprise move from Honda, Verstappen is too hot an article to be overlooked. Whatever will Mercedes become in a next year or two, they could give him a challenger he desperately needs and the benefits would be indeed mutual – Verstappen is the most exciting driver from the marketing point of view, he can draw additional masses of fans and an unbelievable portion of public and sponsorship interest – these two can practically become a synonym larger than Schumi – Ferrari or Hamilton – Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton will overcome Schumacher with eight titles next year and Mercedes can tick a box – they have the most successful driver of all time, but what’s next? Be it Mercedes or Ineos, I’m sure they’ll rather go for a new “challenge” with highly proven race winner who will be a literal beast in a superior car. Hamilton might be walked out of Mercedes in a similar manner Schumacher was from Ferrari.

    And what if, in case such scenario happens, Hamilton decides to take a challenge and dresses in red? I never believed it when fans and pundits were dreaming about if for the past two years but now…well, anything could happen.

    1. Interesting thoughts :) Red Bull has such a big stake in motorsport, owning two F1 teams, an F1 circuit and sponsoring many juniors. Pulling out of one of any of those has consequences for the others.

      As for your conspiracy: F1 announcements usually come in two varieties; one where all the news already has been discussed for weeks (and the announcement itself is only the official confirmation) and the other one where it seems like a bombshell but (usually) arrangements have been made while everything was still under covers. Maybe other announcements (possibly additional bombshells) will follow soon. It’s definitely not a coincidence they announce this on the friday morning of a non-race weekend, let’s see what the reporters can ask at the next official press conference.

    2. 2. Possibly could be one of main reasons that Tsunoda was dropped from F1 considerations on next year.

  52. Don’t want to sound dramatic, but this is the start of the end for F1 as we know it.

    Renault were cagey about continuing only a few weeks ago, Mercedes have had rumours about their commitment for MONTHS (and we all know, when it comes to F1, there is never smoke without fire).

    The push for global ban on combustion engines will make F1 in its current formula completely redundant. That is inevitable, unfortunately.

    I expect an announcement to be made in 2022, probably when Renault or Mercedes call it quits too and there is literally no longer enough engine manufactures to make it viable. Either a merger with Formula E, or a couple of years out while they court the likes of Audi, Pugeot and Hyundai/Kia with a new, all-electric, Formula.

    1. @joeypropane We had a similar outwash around 2009 due to the global recession. Honda, Toyota and BMW all quit in a matter of months, affecting 4 teams. F1 will overcome this, the hybrid turbo engine era however will come to an end.

  53. With the budget cap coming, is it more beneficial now for engine suppliers to sell engines as they would get additional revenue?

  54. man this is not good news, I really hope it doesn’t start an horrible chain of events for F1

  55. Can’t imagine who would want to supply Red Bull now. Mercedes will be supplying 4 of 10 teams, Ferrari 3 of 10, which only leaves Renault be with capacity as they’ll only have their own team but I’d imagine given how sour things turned they won’t want back in that relationship.

    I can only think of two options: teams play musical chairs and Haas take on Renault allowing Ferrari to provide the Red Bulls which given Ferraris fall from grace would likely not make either happy. Ferrari wouldn’t want to be beaten by a customer and Red Bull won’t want to be back to the worst power unit again.

    Or, Red Bull buy the IP of Honda’s F1 power units and maybe given their relationship with Cosworth for their road car finally become a full blown constructor.

    1. Its just business. The Renault is reasonably close to Mercedes, whereas the Ferrari is nowhere. And Renault get a customer team which gives them teams led by Alonso and Max. Not a bad portfolio.

  56. So…Alonso was right….Honda Logo-Jazz engine manufacturer.

  57. Since the blurb mentions Honda pursuing a carbon free future, the question must be posed:
    Just how separate is HPD (Indycar and IMSA Acura -supplier) from Honda Japan ?
    The funding for those programs must be somewhat tied more than name only, right ?

    1. They’ll also still be staying in Super GT and Super Formula. And presumably also MotoGP, SBK, and TCR.
      But their big budget will not go into F1 anymore.

  58. As Honda put it. Their focus is “…….to strive for the realization of carbon neutrality by 2050” Enough said.

    1. Yeah carbon neutrality….. while continuity with moto gp, indycar, and super formula….

  59. This is fascinating. Ultimately the engine manufacturers pushed for the engine change to make F1 more relevant to car technologies, the reality is that the internal combustion engine only has so long left. I wonder where F1 will go in regards to power units over the next decade

  60. @liko41 This makes total sense actually.

    They have spent hundreds of millions on that engine and by now it is pretty much on par with Mercedes by at worst 20bhp peak difference. Less than that now that engine modes are banned.

    So the engine really is not the issue holding Red Bull back. It’s the Red Bull car that is lacking. The high rake concept is clearly too draggy while not delivering the extra downforce which could offset that extra drag.

    All in all this is making Honda look bad since the extra drag makes the car slow on the straights. Making it look like their engine is lacking. Plus Red Bull keeps mentioning the Honda engine being the problem. Suggesting that if only the Honda engines deliver some extra power they could be winning races.

    Honda must be fed up of being thrown under the bus all the time. Sure they were (partly) rightfully blamed in the past, but this season Red Bull really should be able to compete for the race wins with that engine.

    They just can’t get seem their car sorted properly and it doesn’t look like there is any progress. Red Bull don’t have the synergy that Hamilton and the Mercedes engineers have to improve their car year on year.

    1. Pretty much agree with you on the car concept – without Verstappen, they would be just a solid midfielder this season. However, I’m not so sure about Honda’s power output. They’ve got a solid engine but Monza and Spa for example are still their Achilles heel and it can’t be ascribed only to RB-17’s concept. They’re improving, but they’re not on par with nether Mercedes or, I dare say, Renault in terms of pure power.

      1. @pironitheprovocateur I’d say that with Ricciardo and a decent 2nd driver (like Sainz, Perez or even Vettel) they would be much better off right now. Verstappen isn’t able to help the team forwards and Albon isn’t even able to help himself forwards.

        Also demonstrated in Monza and Hungary where Verstappen just could not get the car to work. While Ricciardo is helping Renault develop that car more and more to the front. As much as their much smaller budget allows.

        Besides, the bhp figures show that it’s not the engine that’s causing the straight line speed deficit. There is not that much difference. The bhp gap to Mercedes is no bigger than it was when Red Bull was winning 4 championships in a row with Renault.

        It’s the draggy aero nature of the Red Bull which is causing their straight line speed deficit. Plus they often go for even more downforce than average. Leclerc had the second highest top speed in Russia. The Renault drivers were at the top also. Even Alpha Tauri have higher top speeds than Red Bull.

  61. VAG Group/Lamborghini has to enter F1 now. Otherwise F1 slowly bleeds to death.
    In any case, I’m not getting that happy from F1 at the moment. And when Honda quits, it will all be tight on engine suppliers.
    Imagine if guys like Verstappen, Norris, Leclerc say: I’ll go to indycar, Formula E, DTM, or whatever.

    1. It won’t happen since they are not stupid. Nobody want to invest (squander is pheraps more appropriate) +200 million per year to be fooled by someone especially if they both are germans…

    2. VAG is now pouring billions into fully electric cars and rolling out new EV models now. A hybrid racing serious could not be further from their minds. And for motorsport the “sell on Monday” story is no longer about how high you can make your gas-guzzling ICE rev to make more power.

  62. RBR back with Renault then. Horner’s jabs at Cyril on spending more on Ricciardo rather on his engines will haunt him now.

    1. Richard Shirley
      2nd October 2020, 12:09

      I put this down to co-vid and the normal stuff ie-: sales, who would want to see Porsche back in F1 this time with RB & AT you never know what mute happen

  63. I think Formula One needs to consider some kind of ‘standard’ customer power unit can is developed by an independent, non-manufacturer-affiliated power until supplier than teams with no manufacturer-backing can use, or develop themselves in-house.

    Kind of like the TOCA engine in BTCC.

    Otherwise we’ll end up like at times in the 60’s and 70’s when it was Ferrari vs a grid of Ford DFVs.

    1. Or the engine could be standardized – i.e. what Max Mosley proposed in late 00’s with his standardized V4s. Many fans were horrified just by the sound of the idea, but 10 years on, I think many would exchange a bit of revs for competitive championships.

  64. It has been awful to see so much dominance in F1 in recent years, but this is not getting any better. The fun is a bit off with me by now. Formula E, F2, etc, is much more exciting at the moment.

  65. Honda are perpetuating a marketing myth that there is an automotive power which can really be carbon neutral.

    Electric power demands electricity generation and only nuclear is really carbon neutral in generation but certainly not in construction and delivery. Batteries require rare earths and if the ‘world’ goes for electric propulsion the mining will disfigure many countries. Then there is the disposal of the waste in terms on batteries, chemicals needed to produce them……

    A recent study claimed that if all those factors are considered then the latest diesel engines are ‘cleaner’ than electric cars.

    Who knows? But if F1 goes to biofuels then that calculation must be made to meet the current demand for ‘clean’ energy.

    Personally I wonder why there is such a global blindness to this ecological conundrum, and why it is not more explored. How many nuclear power stations (which take up to ten years to construct) will be needed in the UK to enable every vehicle from trains, boats, planes and cars to be electrically powered with ‘clean’ energy.

    And one last scary thought: I am told that most hydrogen is made using hydrocarbons including brown coal, one of the most polluting fuels ever used. The hydrogen production from solar and water is relatively minuscule and so far can’t be scaled up. So at the moment it is difficult to see hydrogen as a ‘clean’ fuel.

    1. So much handwringing in your monumental effort to see no solutions at all (disfigurement! disengenius genius I say) – so what, stick with fossils is it?
      If I wasn’t such a trusting soul, I’d think you had an agenda.

  66. Here is what happens when you let a car company run the sport. Mercedes i killing F1 just like it did with the FIA GT back in late ’90 and DTM more recently.

  67. I guess this is silly season…
    An investor comes in to purchase the F1 powertrain segment off of Honda for, say $1 (INEOS?), appoints Toto to lead it, and Toto brings in Andy Cowell and Co, everybody wins

    1. Is that Aston Martin?

    2. Or could it be Volkwagen Group?

      1. Looks like you are spot on.

    3. As far as I know japanese won’t sell anything to anyone especially if we are talking about IP…

      1. Did they not do that in 2008?

  68. I do worry this could be the end of Red Bull/AlphaTauri. They’ve already said they’d leave if they couldn’t find a competetive engine and Mercedes can’t give them one, Ferrari are nowhere and I’d be really surprised if they’d be happy to go back to Renault, if Renault would take them. It ruins the championship as one of the only consistent challengers to Mercedes now is going to plunge backwards on development, and obviously this is going to completely ruin any 2022 engine integration planned. Red Bull may simply just sell up or leave, and losing them is a loss that would harm F1 significantly.

    1. I believe Renault will have to supply the two RBR teams with engines as laid down in the regs. But it would be much better for them to buy out the Honda F1 engine department. This would also address your point about 2022 engine integration.

  69. I really hope they will sell their powertrain knowledge to another (new) engine supplier. Perhaps VW Group?

  70. Ho ho ho.

    Go beg Renault for some last years’ engines. Hohohohoho

  71. Pivotal moment for F1 this. Despite the noise issue, we need to move further towards electric engines. Let’s be honest, this is where the development is going to take place in the next 20 years and F1 needs to be at the forefront of where the technology goes.

    I’d love to hear screaming V12s again like everyone else, but that time has past and we need to make sure we have an F1 at all at this stage by keeping it relevant for, at the very least, engine manufacturers.

    1. This does smack me in the face as a big step closer towards the end of petrol racing in F1, @john-h.

  72. As several people have said I cannot see RBR going anywhere but to Renault. Renault next year will only be supplying themselves so it all stands to reason. I am not sure RBR will even have another option.

    I am not sure what would happen if Renault refused but I am not sure that they can or why they would. The other factor is that McLaren are doing pretty well this year with Renault engines so I don’t think there would be much of a loss to RBR. They have to design a new car for 2022 anyway.

    I am not sure AlphaTauri will go to Renault as well though. They may end up with Ferrari as used to be the case.

    In the medium term though I am sure F1 will be very keen to get another PU manufacturer on board. The obvious candidates are VW/Porsche. Will anyone want to join though before the next redesign of PUs is due. That’s 2025 or 2026?

  73. This is likely the jenga block that will signal the end of F1 as we know it.

    Formula E must be having a good feeling about its future right now.

  74. F1 2021/22 should have been ALL about standard chasis, close racing and super cost effectiveness.
    Instead nobody seems to know for sure whether the new rules will really do much of anything, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Especially with billion dollar companies who have to plan years ahead.

  75. The hybrid era engines are so much more expensive to build, so it’s quite understandable.

    Go back to simple V6 engines in 2022 please, I would love to hear them again.

  76. Three engine suppliers are left in Formula One …. wow! The health of F1 is reflected in this number! Some F1 fans laugh at IndyCar being a “spec series”, well …. F1 now has three engine suppliers …. and IndyCar has two. With the regulations in F1 being as tight as a duck’s backside … Formula One isn’t far above IndyCar.

    In 1991, Formula One had [b]NINE[/b] engine suppliers:


    This is a very sad state of affairs. With F1 viewing stuck behind a paywall, and the £200 Million entry fee for new F1 teams, F1 is becoming more elitist by the year.

  77. In 1991, Formula One had NINE engine suppliers

  78. This is the beginning of the end for F1 as we know it. The same commercial pressures apply to Renault and Mercedes, they will also pull out soon, leaving Ferrari as the only manufacturer. A revision to the current engine regs will probably trigger the end. At which point F1 ceases to be a real competition. F1 is dead, long live Formula E!

  79. 1 more manufacturer to retire…. and F1 is in collapse. I guess now Ferrari can be appreciated a little bit more given their dedication to the sport.

    1. Yep, that’s why they got that famous 38% of the cake. They are there in good times and bad times, no matter what…

      1. Still, don’t think that 38% of the cake would be a ”game changer” in most cases. I still think Honda would retire even with 38% more of the cake. Then, it’s not like Ferrari always had 38% of the cake. They earned it somehow……

        1. Agree that’s what I meant, I was with you on this one

  80. You heard it from here first.If Red Bull don’t get an engine supplier at least as equal as Honda then they will be at best a midfield team and at worst be where Ferrari are not at the back.In formula 1 regrettably engine power is 75% the victory.
    There is no substitute for engine power.Title number 9 is going to Lewis Hamilton.

  81. Well that came out of blue. What else can I say that already has been written here. Good luck Red Bull and Max

  82. Even Lewis must be concerned about grabbing more titles during the death rattle age of F1 – its not exactly comparable with the golden age is it….

    1. Why would he be

      1. Because hes all about status and stats. Being basically given championships unchallenged year in year out can’t be good for his ego!

  83. The Honda PR line “to focus on carbon-neutrality” is probably PR, but is a version of “go woke, go broke”. In this case, F1 going broke. F1 incoporated the carbon neutrality talking point, regulated for a efficient and “cleaner” (emissions and noise) PU, and make the whole thing unbearable even for Honda. Few others seemed attracted to that complex scheme that is apparently to intricated by itself, let alone fighting another constructor that might have founf all the right answers (MErc.)

  84. The writing is on the wall for F1 now. Eventually, all manufacturers will cease manufacture of ICE because it will become a pointless endeavour for them as it will not reflect their core endeavours as electric road car manufacturers. The sooner F1 embraces electrification the sooner it will be able to prevent it’s irrelevance. Sad in a way but then again, factory Tesla F1 Team sounds awesome to me too!

  85. I don’t think the game is all over for F1 just yet. It’s still a business worth hundreds of millions each year with millions of enthusiasts. I am sure some solution can be found to the engine problems i.e. lack of supply. The good thing is there is scope for more teams to be supplied by at least one current PU manufacturer i.e. Renault.

    F1 does have to take a long, hard look though at where it is heading in the next 5-10 years. In particular what kind of power units are they going for after the current generation. The sport needs to get this right both for the on-track spectacle and financially, or it really could face the end.

  86. ICE engines (especially for racing) are not going away. There are plenty of engines builders offering crate motors specifically designed for racing. Even Judd will sell you a V10.

    Engines are not a problem. Want 900 HP? Roush will sell you one “off the shelf” with a Ford badge.

    Honda and Chevrolet will sell you a crate motor any power you want.

    Not to mention the dozen and dozen of race engine shops making everything from aircraft air cooled boxer sixes rated at 700hp to sprint car engines rated at 650hp.

    Engines are not a problem. Strap one of these into the back of a singleseater and watch the spectacle.

    Biggest problem facing F1 is getting the promoters (circuits) and TV companies on board with, at worst scenario, a potential grid of 16 cars and 3 engine manufacturers.

    F1 should concentrate on what will get bums on seat. Never mind complex rules and regulations. Let out the beast and have a box rule. Height, width, length and engine size limitations plus mandatory safety features required and entertain the crowds.

    1. F1 is far too snobby to entertain non-bespoke/exclusive drivetrain technology. What you’re suggesting would never happen in a million years. F1 will be electric before long, its inevitable.

      1. The market (as in bums on seat at a circuit or on TV) will decide. Not F1.

        F1 has to provide a package that people will want to buy. Not so sure electric provides this.

        But lest see what the future holds in regards what the public wants to watch and how promoters will provide that.

  87. So, are Honda also leaving IndyCar?

  88. I’m quite sad about this. As about many decisions made around F1, although it’s still astonishing. Probably it’s due to that they realised they will not really close the gap with the cost cap in place and this engine formula will stay for a while. Imo even if Renault and Honda have quite high peak power output now, they are not that good reliability-wise (although Renault seems to suffer less with PU reliability than in previous years, they are quite cool now). But they communicated and reasoned the pulling out it so well, that I even can accept their reasons, despite of I often can’t completely accept public opinions. It was not an amateurish public statement.

  89. They realised they are playing in a game with a rigged outcome.

  90. Before Honda came along, F1 had three PU suppliers for the time being. Let’s not all take this event as the demise of F1. We’ll simply see it enter a new era.

  91. Sigh… here we go again. Only 14 more months for my Honda F1 baseball cap! Curiously they seem to have lost their way on customer service too.

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