With Honda pulling out of F1 last year, Red Bull is bolstering its own powertrain division to take over the running of Japanese engines.
And while during a transition phase Honda will continue to manufacture power units from its Japanese facilities, many of the staff who helped Max Verstappen win the Drivers’ Championship last year have transferred to other projects.
However, it has emerged that Yamamoto, who was effectively Honda’s F1 chief, is leaving the Japanese company this month to set up a consultancy that will work with Red Bull to help support its efforts.
Speaking about his plans, he said the idea was for him to act as a point of contact between Red Bull and Honda to ensure relations remain strong between the two parties.
“We have created a new company,” he told Autosport in an exclusive interview. “We want to do something that makes people happy, and if we win in F1 the fans will be happy.
“We have signed a contract with the company at Red Bull Powertrains. The company has me, at the request of Christian Horner and Helmut Marko from Red Bull, to support them.
“It’s a business to business contract so it’s hard to talk about specifics, but as a member of Red Bull Powertrains I will undertake work that will help them.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Masashi Yamamoto, Managing Director, Honda Motorsport, with a trophy
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Yamamoto explained that his main focus will be to act as a bridge between the Red Bull and Honda powertrains, to ensure that engine progression is now as smooth as possible.
“If, for example, they want to understand Japanese culture and Honda culture, and have a closer and better relationship with Honda, we can support it. Basically, it’s a bridge between Red Bull and Japan.”
Yamamoto expects to attend a number of races in his new role, and says the decision to leave Honda came after he called it quits from F1.
“I decided that in March of last year,” he explained. “I was appointed motorsport director in 2016, and my goal was to win the Super GT championship title at first. I was able to achieve that in 2018.
“For the next three years, I dedicated myself to F1. From the start, I thought that this job was the culmination of my life at Honda and I thought I could put everything I had into it. had lived there.
“I was wondering if we could win with Red Bull for the first time in the first year and then have a good [championship] fight with Mercedes the second year. But that was not the case.
“But, in the third year, with Verstappen’s driving ability and the strong Red Bull team, we managed to win the championship.”