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Honda: We have a motivation to win the championship regardless

Honda: "We have a motivation to win the championship regardless"

25-08-2021 11:44 Last update: 14:19

With the start of the second half of the season, Honda's farewell tour in Formula 1 also begins. The Japanese engine supplier will quit after 2021, leaving Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri on their own. Honda is very happy that it can leave the premier class of motorsport on a high.

Confidence at Honda

"It's a very big difference. If we had quit after 2017, there’s nothing left really. No legacy at all," Masashi Yamamoto said in conversation with The Race. The manufacturer returned to Formula 1 in 2015 with McLaren, but in three seasons Honda seemed to have thrown its entire reputation to the wind. The power unit was neither reliable nor fast enough.

The then Toro Rosso took the opportunity to work with Honda after its break with McLaren and that proved to be a strong move. Honda developed, Red Bull Racing also started using Japanese engines and now Max Verstappen is fighting for the championship.

"“But if we can win the championship and we leave after this year, our engineers will get huge confidence in the achievement. They will know how to succeed. And they also get the knowledge and technology from this hybrid engine, which will connect to Honda’s future for carbon-neutral technology," Yamamoto said. “It will be really something big for Honda.”

Motivation always high

Honda's F1 managing director states that the piece of legacy is hugely important to his employer. Honda wants to put down some great stuff when it leaves, but that doesn't mean crew are working harder now than they have in recent seasons. "If we don’t leave this year, if we continue next year, maybe the motivation level is the same. We have a motivation to win the championship regardless of if we leave or stay.

In fact, Honda's engine is now so competitive that Red Bull Racing has decided to buy the IP (intellectual property). This will allow Red Bull to run their own engines from 2022, although Honda will continue to support them for the first year after they leave.

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