In a significant development, Honda Motor stated, it will end its participation as an engine supplier in the FIA Formula One World Championship at the end of the 2021 season and will instead focus on zero-emission technology.
The development was made by Honda Motor’s CEO Takahiro Hachigo during an online news conference.
“This is not a result of the coronavirus pandemic but because of our longer-term carbon-free goal,” said Takahiro.
Like its peers, Honda is racing to cater to the industry shift and build electric vehicles, an event that Hachigo described as being “once in a century”. This race has accelerated midst the coronavirus pandemic with carmakers reviewing production plans to capture market share in the burgeoning low or zero-emission vehicles.
Having returned to F1 in 2015, Honda last year began supplying engines to the Red Bull Racing team. In a statement it said, it will divert resources that previously have been allocated to build F1 engines towards accelerating the development of zero-emission technologies including fuel cells and batteries.
“We understand how difficult it has been for Honda Motor Company to reach the decision. We understand and respect the reasoning behind this,” said Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner.
Honda is scheduled to launch its first mass-produced all-battery car later this month called the Honda e; it has also announced production plans for two thirds of the company’s output to be new-energy vehicles by 2030.