In October 2020, Honda announced that it would end its F1 program after the 2021 season after seven years of supplying hybrid power units to first McLaren, then AlphaTauri and Red Bull.
This prompted Red Bull to integrate engine development at its Milton Keynes campus, attracting personnel from Honda and various rival teams to run the new Red Bull Powertrains division.
After years of struggling with McLaren, Honda has finally made drastic engine upgrades that have allowed Red Bull to compete with dominant Mercedes team and helped Max Verstappen win the 2021 world championship in a dramatic confrontation with Lewis Hamilton.
When asked by Autosport if Honda left F1 too soon as it began to reap the fruits of its labor, Honda F1 director Yamamoto agreed with that sentiment.
“Personally yes, I agree,” Yamamoto said. “But it’s obviously a business decision and I understand where the business wants to go, so at the end of the day we have to accept it.
“But we still have imagination, so hopefully one day Honda will come back to F1.”
While Yamamoto admitted he was sad to see Honda go, he said there was great “satisfaction rather than relief” at winning the Drivers’ Championship with Verstappen, meaning Honda finally achieved its goals. goals and will not leave with unfinished business.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, celebrates his arrival at the Parc Fermé
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
“Of course it’s sad, but we knew that since October 2020 and so we knew we had to push for it in 2021,” he explained.
“We took a different mindset and looked at the decision in a different way, we tried to give everything to perform in the time we still had left.
“We focused on winning the championship in our last year, and now I think we have finished our job in F1. We have achieved our goal, even within the timeframe we set ourselves.
“First we had a partnership with Toro Rosso and a year later Red Bull came along.
“Our target and also their target was to win the championship within three years. That’s exactly what happened in 2021, so it’s just a great story, especially since we put a lot of effort into it. ‘efforts.”
Yamamoto added that Honda would still provide support for what he called a “challenging” effort by Red Bull to successfully run the engines in-house, with the engine’s 2022 spec being the last designed from the Japanese factory. from Honda to Sakura.
“It will be Red Bull Powertrains, and we will support them to get good performance with AlphaTauri and Red Bull. But yes, it will definitely be a different relationship,” he said.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s also true that they want to be a stronger and even more integrated team by having everything in-house. As Honda, we want to support them as much as possible with our resources to make this project a success.”