Honda will end its run as a power unit supplier for Formula One at the end of the 2021 season, it announced on Oct. 2.
The company will instead “funnel its corporate resources in research and development” to zero-emission technologies, like fuel cells and batteries, it said in an announcement. Honda has said it is aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of a “once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation” of the automobile industry.
The Japanese manufacturer made its return to F1 in 2015 after leaving in 2008 with a partnership with McLaren Racing. It jumped to Torro Rosso — now Alpha Tauri — in 2018, then added Red Bull in 2019; Both teams have won grand prix this season.
Red Bull’s top driver, Max Verstappen, committed to staying with the team through 2023 in January.
“Their decision presents obvious challenges for us as a Team but we have been here before and with our strength in depth we are well prepared and equipped to respond effectively, as we have proven in the past,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said in a statement.
Without Honda, F1 will be down to three engine makers: Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the company is still moving forward with plans to introduce a “new power unit with improved performance” for its final season.
“Ever since our founding, Honda has been advancing its technologies, developing its engineers and nurturing its strong passion for victory through challenges we have taken in motorsports,” Hachigo said. “Racing is in Honda’s DNA, and therefore Honda will continue to be passionate about taking on challenges and striving to become No. 1 in all categories of racing in which Honda participates.”