Red Bull is well equipped to deal with Honda’s shock exit from Formula 1 at the end of next season despite the challenges it presents the team, according to Christian Horner.
Honda announced on Friday morning that it will pull out of F1 at the end of next season, leaving Red Bull and AlphaTauri requiring a new power unit supplier. As it stands that supplier would have to be Renault as the manufacturer with the fewest customers, but the Red Bull relationship ended in acrimonious fashion two years ago. Despite the situation, Horner (pictured above, center, with AlphaTauri’s Franz Tost, left, and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko) thanked Honda for its efforts in powering Red Bull to four victories in their 31 races together so far, and says his team will be able to deal with the change.
“As a team we understand how difficult it has been for Honda Motor Company to reach the decision to step back from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season,” Horner said. “The shifting focus within the automotive industry has led to Honda’s decision to re-deploy their resources and we understand and respect the reasoning behind this. Their decision presents obvious challenges for us as a team but we have been here before and with our strength in depth we are well prepared and equipped to respond effectively, as we have proven in the past.
“Whilst we are disappointed not to continue our partnership with Honda, we are enormously proud of our joint success, delivering five wins and 15 podiums for both Red Bull owned teams and we thank everyone at Honda for their extraordinary efforts and commitment.
“Our joint focus for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons are unchanged, to fight for victories and challenge for the championship. As a signatory to Formula 1’s latest Concorde agreement, Red Bull Racing remains committed to the sport in the long term and we look forward to embarking on a new era of innovation, development and success.
“As a group, we will now take the time afforded to us to further evaluate and find the most competitive power unit solution for 2022 and beyond.”
The way the regulations currently work, the power unit supplier with the fewest customers would be obliged to supply Red Bull if it is left without a deal in 2022, but the team is free to pursue any other partnerships. Honda’s F1 facility is located under five miles from Red Bull’s HQ in Milton Keynes, and could be sold if it is not converted by the Japanese company for other use.