The news that Honda will be quitting Formula 1 from 2021, did bring some shock waves to the Red Bull group. They had envisaged the Japanese maker exiting sometime, but not this early.
It has now left Red Bull in a situation, where any decision taken impacts the long-term future of the team. And when it is a talk of power units, these decisions have to be carefully navigated through.
But, despite Honda’s potential exit from the sport, they are keeping an open mind to supporting the Red Bull teams. After all, they achieved more success with the group, than they did during their time with McLaren.
A possible option that has been talked up in recent times, is Red Bull using re-badged versions of their existing engines. It could supposedly involve an intellectual property deal for Honda power units.
And then, Red Bull’s Milton Keynes base can oversee an engine continuation programme. Of course, if Red Bull cannot do it alone, then they would have to involve an independent partner. Who can then provide additional technical support, if need be.
Speaking in an interview, Honda F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto stated, “Honda is happy to talk to them if they need us in any way. Not only about the power unit, but about other things as well.”
“To support AlphaTauri and Red Bull for their programme after 2021 in any way, we’re happy to cooperate. As Honda we had so many things from the teams, so we want to give it back somehow in a nice way for the future.”
The Japanese maker’s exit is not just a loss to the teams, but the sport as well. Red Bull were confident they could get back to the top with Honda. Especially after how relations had soured with Renault over the years.
But as it stands, the Austrian-licensed outfit are staring at yet another ‘awkward reunion’ with Renault. That is of course, if no discussions with another supplier properly materialize.
Honda have enjoyed a successful relationship with the Red Bull group. They have won 5 races and 10 podium finishes in their three years with both teams. And before their departure in 2021, they would surely want to win more and go out on a high.