Red Bull 'committed' to F1 and evaluating power unit options following Honda departure news
Following Honda's shock decision to leave F1 at the end of 2021, Christian Horner has underlined Red Bull's committment to the sport, with the Team Principal saying they are now in the process of evaluating power unit options for the future.
On Friday morning, Honda revealed their overall company strategy had changed and they will now be redeploying their resources to achieve their goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
That means when their arrangement with Red Bull and AlphaTauri - that runs until the end of next season - comes to an end, Honda will withdraw from the top echelon of motor racing, leaving the two teams in need of an engine supplier.
Horner said Red Bull have experience of such a scenario, having needed an engine supplier when they parted ways with Renault at the end of 2018, and therefore expressed confidence that they will find a solution once again.
“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,” he 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.
“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.”
He added: “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.”
Under the current rules, Renault would be obliged to supply Red Bull and AlphaTauri with engines as they currently have the fewest customers, unless the teams can convince Mercedes or Ferrari to provide a supply.
Like Red Bull, sister team AlphaTauri have enjoyed a hugely successful partnership with Honda since taking them on in 2018, peaking with victory at last month’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza with Pierre Gasly.
Team Principal Franz Tost wished Honda well and while he admitted it will be tricky to find a new power unit supplier, he insisted they will find a way.
“We certainly respect the reason behind Honda’s decision to focus on environmental initiatives and to strive for the realization of carbon neutrality, everybody at Scuderia AlphaTauri wish them well in reaching all their goals and to have a successful future ahead,” he said.
“We sincerely want to thank Honda for the fruitful cooperation, we really enjoyed every day we’ve been working together. It won’t be easy to find an engine partner like Honda but, of course, we will start looking at all possibilities to find the best Power Unit solution from 2022 onwards.”