Red Bull and Honda initially planned to run just special race overalls for one event, according to the manufacturer, before deciding to introduce an overhauled livery.
Red Bull’s RB16B will run in a striking white-and-red colour scheme in Turkey this weekend as a tribute to power unit partner Honda’s RA272, with which it claimed its first win in 1965.
The scheme was originally set to grace Honda’s home circuit, Suzuka, but it will instead be on track at Istanbul Park on the weekend in which the Japanese Grand Prix was due to take place.
But discussions were held and the idea grew to incorporate a full livery, with Red Bull and Honda receiving the required approval from Formula 1 and the FIA due to it being a mid-season change.
“Red Bull said to Honda ‘let’s do something special together for Suzuka’ – that’s where it all began,” Honda’s F1 Managing Director Masashi Yamamoto explained to the official Honda website.
“Then one of the ideas was to make a special race suit, inspired by the RA272.
“I’ve actually made the race suits before for Honda drivers – all white with a red line – that Jenson Button wore during one of our Honda Thanks Days. So the first idea was the race suits for Suzuka.
“Then the conversation went on a bit more and we said ‘Why don’t we do it for the car as well?’ So a livery inspired by RA272.
“The design was developed together, Red Bull came up with the basis design and we suggested small details like the red circle at the front that’s like the Japanese flag, and the retro numbers.”
The livery of Red Bull’s RB16B, along with AlphaTauri’s AT02, features ‘arigato’, which translates as ‘thank you’, written in Japanese characters.
“Arigato is for Red Bull of course, for Christian [Horner], Helmut [Marko], Franz [Tost] and all four drivers across the two teams,” said Yamamoto.
“But the biggest thank you is to the fans actually, because they have been supporting us for a long time. It is our last season but we wanted to take this opportunity to send that message to the fans.”
Red Bull and Honda have also outlined the nature of their collaboration for 2022, after the manufacturer’s exit in a works capacity.