Honda has announced that several teams have approached it about a potential partnership when the new engine era in Formula One begins in 2026, but no decision has been made regarding future participation.
The agreement between Honda and Red Bull and sister team AlphaTauri to produce engines in Japan will expire in 2025.
Red Bull recently announced a new partnership with Ford starting in 2026 after establishing their own powertrains company in Milton Keynes.
After helping Max Verstappen, a double world champion for Red Bull, win his first championship in 2021, Honda officially left Formula One. However, the company has registered to be one of the six suppliers of power units from 2026 to 2030.
“After we made the registration we have been contacted by multiple Formula One teams,” Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe told reporters in a Zoom briefing from Sakura headquarters on Monday.
“For the time being we would like to keep a close eye on where Formula One is going and just see how things go,” he added.
“For now we don’t have any concrete decisions on whether or not we will be going back to joining Formula One. But…we think being part of Formula One is going to help us with technological development. So that is where we are.”
According to Watanabe, Honda’s own goal of carbon neutrality and increased electrification is consistent with Formula One’s future course.
“That is why we have decided to register as manufacturer of a power unit,” he explained. “We are curious about where Formula One is going and how is that going to look with more electrification happening.”
The 1.6 liter V6 engines from Formula One’s current generation will be retained, but they will have significantly more electric power and run entirely on sustainable fuels. By 2030, the sport hopes to achieve carbon neutrality.
The name of the Japanese automaker Honda will be added to the power unit in this year’s Red Bull, changing it from RBPT to Honda RBPT.
Honda’s executive chief engineer and project manager for the F1 team, Tetsushi Kakuda, told reporters that the company had worked to address reliability issues for 2023.
Verstappen and Red Bull combined for 15 out of 22 victories last season, but the Dutch driver withdrew from two of the opening three races.
“Last year I believe all the power unit manufacturers prioritised performance in their development, and so did we,” said Kakuda. “We made every effort to recover the performance lost due to the E10 fuel introduced by the regulation change.
“But as a result the internal load to the engine increased significantly compared to the previous year and the reliability was severely compromised. As a result several problems surfaced during the 2022 season.”
He claimed that Honda had improved control and energy management even further and had collaborated with suppliers to increase the accuracy of part and power unit assembly.
The general manager of Honda’s division for the development of automobile racing, Yasuaki Asaki, made retirement plans for the end of March.
(Adapted from EconomicTimes.com)