AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost says Honda’s decision to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2021 is unfortunate due to the rapid progress the power unit manufacturer has made.
Honda returned to F1 in 2015, partnership with McLaren as it looked to take advantage of the new V6 turbo power unit regulations. However, by entering a year after the new engines were introduced, Honda was on the back foot and after three disappointing years the partnership was terminated early. That led to a deal with AlphaTauri under its previous name of Toro Rosso, and a strong 2018 season prompted Red Bull also to switch to Honda power, with both teams having won races this year.
“Scuderia AlphaTauri and Honda have built up a very good and professional relationship since we started to cooperate in 2018,” Tost said. “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 1, 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 realization of carbon neutrality. 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.”
Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix was the first victory for Honda since returning to F1, and its record from then on is five wins and 13 further podiums from 23 races, including Pierre Gasly’s victory for AlphaTauri at this year’s Italian Grand Prix (pictured above).