Honda’s Formula 1 technical director, Toyoharu Tanabe, says everyone involved in the engine project is “sad” to be leaving, but can be proud of what they have achieved with Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
Honda returned to the sport in 2015 with McLaren and struggled to get on terms with its rivals, leading to the two companies to separate. Honda would go on to supply Toro Rosso before powering Red Bull in 2019.
Combined, Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) and Red Bull have achieved five race wins and a further 12 podium finishes.
Despite some success, Honda took the decision to quit F1 at the end of next year, but insists it remains committed to taking further races wins between now and then.
“Honda announced that we would be ending our Formula 1 programme at the end of the 2021 season,” commented Tanabe. “Everyone involved in Honda’s F1 project is very sad that our time in the sport is coming to an end.
“We have enjoyed excellent partnerships with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri and I am proud of what we have achieved with both teams so far in terms of wins and podium finishes.
“For the moment, our work continues exactly as before and we will be doing our utmost to secure more wins and good results with both teams.
“We have also assured the FIA and Formula 1 of our intention to fully meet our responsibilities, not just towards our two teams but also to the sport in general, all the way through to the end of the 2021 season.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix, Tanabe is expecting tough conditions with cold weather and heavy rain forecast for much of the weekend.
“The Nurburgring has a long and interesting Grand Prix history. At an altitude of around 600 metres in the Eifel mountains, we can expect bad weather and very low ambient and track temperatures. The forecast certainly indicates that this will be the coldest race of the year so far.
“Formula 1 has not raced at the ’Ring since 2013, therefore this will be the first time for the hybrid power units. We have prepared thoroughly in terms of simulation work, however, it will be important to make the most of our time in Friday free practice to generate real data to help us set up the PUs as well as possible for the rest of the weekend.”