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Honda considered leaving F1 earlier: 'For the first time I had no hope'

Honda considered leaving F1 earlier: 'For the first time I had no hope'

09-01-2022 11:13 Last update: 12:06


Honda are ending its time in Formula 1 on a high. After a difficult period as McLaren's engine supplier, the Japanese manufacturer entered into a partnership with Red Bull Racing, which ultimately resulted in Max Verstappen winning the championship. Technical director Toyoharu Tanabe has been speaking about the difficult period in which victories seemed further away than ever.

Honda, as McLaren's engine supplier, struggled with serious reliability problems, sometimes causing the power source to last only two weekends. After the last year at McLaren, Tanabe was appointed technical director at Honda F1. He saw the previous years with regret.

"It was very difficult," he explained in conversation with The Race. "I realized that it was very difficult to achieve a victory, but people worked very hard to make that wish come true."

Honda considered leaving Formula 1 earlier

Honda's big ambitions when it comes to motorsports made that period even tougher. "If Honda participates in a racing class, we have to win. That's the spirit of Honda," Tanabe explained. Those victories were long lacking, resulting in a dark period for the ambitious manufacturer.

"You don't see any light, just work, work, work - failure, no power," summarized Tanabe.

Masashi Yamamoto agreed with his words and admitted that Honda reached a low point at McLaren, after which it considered leaving Formula One. "It was the first time I really felt no hope for the future," said the general manager of Honda F1.

According to Yamamoto-san, several board members wanted to quit at that point. Everyone wondered whether they would continue and could not imagine competing for a championship. Those hopes were restored when Honda joined forces with Red Bull Racing and also Toro Rosso. "We were starting from scratch. That was a restart and we needed it," said the Honda chief.