Honda will still produce a new Formula 1 engine for 2021 despite its decision to quit the category at the end of that season.
The Japanese marque has announced that next year will be its last in F1 for the foreseeable future, leaving Red Bull Racing and its sister Scuderia AlphaTauri outfit looking for a new powerplant supplier.
While electing to pull its involvement in order to shift resources into new road car technologies, Honda remains committed to development of its race engines for another season.
“We still have seven races to go this season,” observed the Japanese marque’s CEO, Takahiro Hachigo.
“Next year, we have another season, and then we’ll do our very best to try to win.
“For next year we will launch our new power unit so that we can do well together with Red Bull. And we are going to aim for the season championship.”
Honda last re-entered F1 in 2015 with McLaren, but that partnership was marred by poor performance and unreliability.
McLaren swapped engine supply with AlphaTauri, which had been powered by Renault, ahead of the 2018 season and Red Bull followed its junior team’s move a year later.
Those two squads have since racked up a combined five grand prix wins, a point noted by Hachigo.
“For the initial three years we struggled very much, but we overcame that,” he said.
“And so far, we have been able to claim five victories. So, to some extent, I think we left a good track record with our wins.
“For next year we will continue to do our best, so we hope that the fans will continue to stay by us and support us.”
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has reaffirmed the squad’s commitment to F1 in light of the news, while his counterpart at AlphaTauri, Franz Tost, spoke glowingly of Honda.
“Scuderia AlphaTauri and Honda have built up a very good and professional relationship since we started to cooperate in 2018,” said Tost.
“We enjoyed great success together in the last few years, winning a race and finishing on the podium twice, with one second and one third place.
“It’s unfortunate that Honda has decided to stop their commitment in Formula One, because their Power Unit’s performance has been improving constantly and dramatically to become one of the best engines on the grid in a short period of time, since they returned to the sport.
“I’m convinced that together we will continue to achieve strong results in the remaining races this season and next year.
“We certainly respect the reason behind Honda’s decision to focus on environmental initiatives and to strive for the realisation of carbon neutrality,” he added.
“Everybody at Scuderia AlphaTauri wish them well in reaching all their goals and to have a successful future ahead.
“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.”
Max Verstappen, who delivered four of those five race wins, is currently third in the drivers’ championship and Red Bull second in the constructors’ standings.
The Eifel Grand Prix takes place next weekend.