Honda will quit Formula 1 at the end of next season, citing the need to focus its resources and spending on the development of electric and hydrogen technology.
The shocking news means that Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri – the only two teams other than Mercedes-AMG to score race wins so far in 2020 – will be looking for a new engine supplier for the 2022 season.
The Japanese firm returned to F1 as an engine supplier in 2015, initially with McLaren. That relationship ended after three tough season, with Honda spending a year supplying Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri), before starting to supply Red Bull from 2019 onwards. Honda has scored five wins in the last two season.
But the firm will now quit the sport at the end of the 2021 season, the final year of the current technical regulations. Noting that the car industry is undergoing a “once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation”, Honda said it “has decided to strive for the ‘realisation of carbon neutrality by 2050’.”
The firm added: “Towards 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 vehicles and battery EV technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies.”
Honda recently launched its first electric car, the e, and added that the learnings it has made developing the 1.6-litre hybrid powertrains used in modern F1 will benefit its new Innovative Research Excellent, Power Unit and Energy centre.
More updates to follow