Honda says it indicated to Red Bull in August that it was considering ceasing its Formula 1 activities, following confirmation on Friday it will quit after 2021.
Honda joined forces with Red Bull last season, one year after linking up with its junior team Toro Rosso, and swiftly extended its contract through 2021.
The Red Bull-Honda collaboration took a podium on its debut and has since gone on to claim four wins and two pole positions, while Honda also triumphed with AlphaTauri at Monza.
On Friday Honda convened a press conference at short notice at its head office in Tokyo and announced that it will be leaving Formula 1 after next year.
It has realigned its company focus to target achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and stressed that that its decision to quit is not a direct outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic and potential financial concerns.
“Since we extended by one year [with Red Bull] we have been thinking a lot of things over,” said Honda President Takahiro Hachigo.
“In August we communicated our thoughts to Red Bull Racing and we determined to conclude participation at the end of September actually.
“It is not really for the consideration of short-term revenues and profits, but we want to go for the carbon neutrality for 2050, we want to have that target set up.
“We want to focus engineering resources into that area, it is not really a profits consideration or Covid, it is an engineering resources, that it what it is mainly based on.”
Hachigo went on to explain that “the [Honda] engineers working in F1 right now I want to make sure that all the technology they have fostered and cultivated themselves during F1 can be directed towards [achieving] carbon neutrality by 2050.
“This will be a difficult challenge, just as difficult as F1, so for these engineers it should be a good task as well. This is the task we want to encourage them.”