Fernando Alonso hopes Honda will return to Formula 1 in the future after the Japanese manufacturer captured the drivers’ championship in 2021.
Honda leaves F1 after a seven-year spell that included a tough first three seasons with McLaren, during which Alonso had returned to his former team to try and win a third championship. Despite that difficult period, the Spaniard says he maintained a good relationship with the management team that took over the F1 project and helped guide it to success with Red Bull, and wants to see Honda retain links to the sport.
“Obviously, when they left McLaren, I think they were not at a point of dreaming about Formula 1 championships, but they did a very good job,” Alonso said. “They appointed the right people, hey changed the management and they introduced a new philosophy. They did the job. I am so happy for them.
“I was speaking to (Masashi) Yamamoto-san (ED: the head of Honda motorsport) at these three or four last grands prix because I have a very good connection with him. He was the guy that allowed me to test the MotoGP, etc. We still have a good relationship, and he was the first guy I congratulated after Max (in Abu Dhabi) in parc ferme. I am happy for them. I am sad that they are leaving now, but hopefully they come back.”
While Alonso had kind words for Yamamoto, the Honda F1 managing director attributes a big part of last year’s success to the lessons learned in partnership with McLaren at the start of its latest journey.
“All the fundamental basis we have now that allows us to fight for the championship was built up in the McLaren days, so we achieved a lot of things there,” Yamamoto said. “It was just a shame that we respected each other too much and it meant it didn’t really work well, because we respected them and they respected us but it didn’t quite click. But we learned many things and that learning accelerated our development in the Red Bull era.”