Honda president and CEO Takahiro Hachigo insists the Japanese manufacturer’s pending withdrawal from Formula 1 is not about finding a quick way of saving money.
Many car manufacturers have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with new car sales down this year. Despite that, Hachigo says the decision to leave F1 at the end of the 2021 season is not about the financial cost of being a power unit supplier in the sport, but how it allocates the tools and people it has available on different projects.
“This time for concluding is not in consideration of short-term profits but is coming from our aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” Hachigo said. “I have been thinking about where should we place engineering resources. We need to reinforce the PU area, that’s why I made the big decision.
“We need to make sure this big change leads to good fruits and that’s the management’s mission. Also, the whole society is very sensitive about the environmental effort and there is a lot of attention to that.”
Although Honda is moving away from F1 at this point, Hachigo says there are things it can learn from its most recent time in the sport that will help in future.
“F1 is the pinnacle of racing in the world. Therefore by participating in F1 our energy management technology was enhanced, and also the mass-production technologies — we can use and enhance both of them.
“For the human resources development, we have developed younger engineers who can contribute to the carbon neutrality future. Difficulties and hardships and also not to give up was learned by those engineers from F1; therefore we think through F1 we achieved the initial targets of the development for the technologies and human resources.
“We have seven races for this season and also we have next season still to go. Especially for next season we are going to introduce a new power unit and we would like to get victories with Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri until the end of the contract.”