Formula 1 is receiving more interest from engine manufacturers about getting involved in the sport in future despite Honda’s exit, according to F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey.
Honda announced last month that it will not be staying in the sport beyond the end of 2021, when its current contracts with Red Bull and AlphaTauri expire. The Japanese manufacturer says its departure is due to a need to reallocate resources in order to meet overall carbon neutral status by 2050, but Carey believes F1’s approach to both the current power unit and new regulations is proving attractive.
“The Honda decision, I think one it was from my perspective largely driven by challenges, economic challenges, at the overall Honda entity,” Carey said. “The auto industry in general has had some challenges, I think Honda is clearly living and struggling with those challenges. I think that was the core issue.
“There’s no question the are economics around the engine that we’re going to address, but I think Honda felt those pressures existed today and they had to make some decisions.
“I think on the flipside we actually are getting increasing support, and not just from the players that are in the sport, the OEMs that are in the sport, but OEMs that aren’t. They’re actually incredibly enthusiastic about our sustainability future, where we’re going with the next generation engines.
“If you saw the quote a couple of months ago from the CEO of VW, it couldn’t have been more positive about where we’re going, and the importance of us as a platform. I think as we continue to flesh out and put more info out there about our next generation engines and sustainability goals we’re actually getting increasing support and interest from both existing partners and potential new partners about the importance of that to their future.”
Volkswagen (VW) Group CEO Herbert Diess had posted about his support for F1’s plans to move towards synthetic fuels, in response to a Bill Gates article regarding how people will move around in a carbon neutral world.
“Synthetic fuels which are also highly energy intensive to produce will – even fully scaled up – remain very expensive but will be needed in transportation which can’t be electrified like planes,” Diess wrote.
“In my personal view, would be better to go ahead with motor racing: F1 becoming CO2 neutral using synthetic fuels is much more excitement, fun, racing experience, tech-competition than Formula E driving a few laps in city centers in gaming mode. All of this only makes sense if we get carbon-free electricity soon.”
Honda’s exit is poised to leave Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault as the only power unit manufacturers left in F1.