Honda announced Friday it will end its role as a Formula One power unit supplier after the 2021 season, when the series is set to switch to a new generation of power units.
Honda supplies power units to Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri, and its exit will leave Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG and Renault as the remaining power unit suppliers.
Honda has set itself a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and as a result plans significant investments in the areas of battery- and fuel cell-electric technology. Unfortunately, this has come at a cost to its F1 program.
Honda has had multiple stints in F1 dating back to 1964, and has competed both as a constructor and power unit supplier. Its most successful stint was as a power unit supplier between 1983 and 1992, when it supplied power units to successful teams Williams and McLaren. Honda enjoyed 67 wins with those two teams alone.
Honda’s last stint as a constructor ended in 2008, when the automaker pulled out due to the global financial crisis. The team was sold to Ross Brawn who turned it into a championship-winning team in 2009. Brawn then sold the team to Mercedes-Benz the following season.
Honda’s latest stint started in 2015 when the automaker returned as a power unit supplier, initially to McLaren and later Red Bull and AlphaTauri (previously Toro Rosso). The results were disastrous in the first few seasons but Honda managed to improve its power unit to the point it was powering cars to victory. Honda, together with Red Bull, enjoyed three victories in 2019 and two so far in 2020.
It is unclear who Red Bull and AlphaTauri will turn to for power units in 2022 and beyond, but a likely bet is previous partner Renault.