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October 2, 2020

Honda pulling out of Formula One

Honda Motor on Friday announced it would end participation in the FIA Formula One (F1) World Championship as a power unit supplier at the end of the 2021 season.

By Olly Wehring

Honda Motor on Friday announced it would end participation in the FIA Formula One (F1) World Championship as a power unit supplier at the end of the 2021 season.

In 2015, Honda resumed competition in F1, the most prestigious automobile racing series in the world, with the goal to win using its own energy management technologies.

Initially, it experienced a number of difficulties; however, by various methods, including use of its aircraft engine technologies, it achieved "a high level of competitiveness".

As a result of growth achieved together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri under a strong partnership with both teams, Honda was able to attain its goal of earning victories with three wins last season and two wins so far in the 2020 season.

"In the meantime, as the automobile industry undergoes a once in one hundred years period of great transformation, Honda has decided to strive for the 'realisation of carbon neutrality by 2050'," the automaker said in a statement.

"This goal will be pursued as part of Honda's environmental initiatives which is one of the top priorities as a mobility manufacturer."

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Honda said it now needed to "funnel its corporate resources in research and development into the areas of future power unit and energy technologies, including fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and battery EV (BEV) technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies".

As a part of this move, in April this year, it created a new centre called Innovative Research Excellence, Power Unit & Energy. Honda will allocate its energy management and fuel technologies as well as knowledge amassed through F1 activities to this area of power unit and energy technologies and take initiatives while focusing on the future realisation of carbon neutrality.

"Toward this end, Honda made the decision to conclude its participation in F1," the automaker said.

Red Bull Racing said in a statement it was "disappointed" but thanked Honda "for its exceptional efforts as power unit supplier to both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri".

"Our Team partnership provided immediate success with Max Verstappen scoring Honda's first victory since 2006 at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, followed by three further victories and 13 podium finishes in just 31 race starts."

Scuderia AlphaTauri's victory at this year's Italian Grand Prix saw Honda become the only power unit manufacturer to win with two different teams since the start of Formula One's hybrid era in 2014.

Team principal Christian Horner, said: "As a team we understand how difficult it has been for Honda Motor Company to reach the decision to step back from Formula One at the end of the 2021 season. 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.

"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."

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