Honda has already committed to delivering a new power unit to Red Bull and AlphaTauri in 2021 and wants to sign off from Formula 1 by winning the championship.
The Japanese manufacturer made the shock announcement that it will quit F1 at the end of next season on Friday morning, leaving both Red Bull-owned teams needing to find a new supplier for 2022. The move comes despite wins for both teams this year and with Red Bull the closest challenger to Mercedes, and Honda president and CEO Takahiro Hachigo says the aim is to win the title in its final season.
“To the fans, I thank you for the support and I hope that you will continue to support us,” Hachigo said. “We still have seven races this year and then another season and we will try and do our very best to try and win.
“For next year we will launch our new power unit so that together with Red Bull we are going to aim for the season champion. For the initial three years we have struggled very much but we overcame that and so far claimed five victories, so I think to some extent we left a good track record with our wins. For next year we will continue to do our best so we hope the fans will stay by us.”
Hachigo admits he did have some areas of the company that wanted to continue in F1 beyond 2021, but says the final decision to leave came from him.
“In 2015 when I took the office of presidency we resumed the participation of F1 and we had a difficult time at the time. I had difficulty myself. Toro Rosso — currently called AlphaTauri — we had a fresh start together with them. This was very good and especially Mr. (Franz) Tost the team leader, I still appreciate him and together with him in our 50th race we were able to win together with AlphaTauri and that was a joyful moment.
“However for the business direction we have to target a realization of carbon neutrality by 2050. This is another important challenge, and the engineers and engineering resources have to funnel into the realization of this target. Within the company there were some opinions we should continue the participation in F1 but as the president I made the decision.”
With Honda aiming for carbon neutrality but continuing its other motorsports projects, initial links were made with a switch to Formula E, but Hachigo says that is not currently on the cards.
“For electric vehicle races, we don’t have any specific plans for participating as of now — we are aiming for carbon neutrality in 2050. This will be a big challenge for Honda so I hope fans will support us for taking on that challenge as well.”