F1 Today – Honda Quits F1 – 02/10/2020

F1 Today

Honda withdraws from F1 in 2021

Honda has announced they will withdraw from F1 for the third time at the end of next season. The Japanese manufacturer provides engines to both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri and leaves both teams looking for new suppliers from 2022.

Honda returned to Formula One following an eight-year absence in 2015 with McLaren, but they say now they are withdrawing to “strive for the realisation of carbon neutrality by 2050” and research into new power unit technologies.

Red Bull, who switched from Renault to Honda power from last year, say they “understand and respect” the Japanese manufacturer’s reasons for leaving and that the move does not impact their own commitment to F1.

Honda five seasons in the sport started off with McLaren, but the lack of competitiveness led to a breakdown between the two who parted company at the end of 2016. Then the manufacturer to part with McLaren, before making progress with Toro Rosso and that convinced Red Bull

In a statement, Honda said: “Honda needs to funnel its corporate resources in research and development into the areas of future power unit and energy technologies, including fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and battery EV (BEV) technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies.”

The Japanese manufacturer announced last year it was weighing up whether to remain beyond its original deal to race until the end of 2020, and only extended its stay for a single season.

At the time, Honda explained that the bigger issue for it was the investment needed to make a success of its engine project.

Both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri have won a Grand Prix apiece so far in 2020, with Honda the only engine maker other than Mercedes to win races.

 

Honda to push on with engine development

Despite announcing it will walk away from the sport at the end of next season, Honda says it ill continue to develop a new engine. The Japanese manufacturer has decided that its resources used in F1 should be put to better use to drive its environmentally friendly future.

Honda’s CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the company would not wind down its efforts and stop development work. Instead, it remains fully focused on trying to help Red Bull become champion.

Speaking about the manufacturers short term aims, Hachigo told Motorsport.com, “Next year, we have another season, and then we’ll do our very best to try to win. For next year we will launch our new power unit so that we can do well together with Red Bull. And we are going to aim for the season championship.”

Honda had come into the 2020 campaign with Red Bull hoping to finally be in a position to challenge Mercedes for the world title. However, it has failed to sustain the pressure because of reliability, with Max Verstappen falling away from the title battle.

But although Honda may not have achieved all that it had wanted in F1 since its return in 2015, Hachigo said he believed the Japanese manufacturer could still be satisfied with its win record.

Honda is the only engine manufacturer in F1 to have won with two different teams during the turbo-hybrid era. As well as the four wins it has had with Red Bull, Pierre Gasly took a surprise victory for Alpha Tauri at this year’s Italian Grand Prix.

 

Red Bull remains committed to F1

Red Bull and Alpha Tauri say they both remain committed to the sport despite Honda withdrawing. Honda announced on Friday that they will leave the sport at the end of next season.

The teams both owned by Red Bull will now be left looking for a new power unit for 2022. The news comes around a month after the teams signed the new Concorde Agreement, committing them to F1 until 2025.

It’s understood that Honda communicated its thoughts to Red Bull in August and made its final decision at the end of September, but now has decided to leave.

Mercedes already has three partners in Williams, McLaren and the rebadged Aston Martin, while Red Bull’s relationship with Renault unravelled before the move to Honda, and forging a reunion would be challenging. While Ferrari has three partners and is currently uncompetitive.

Red Bull’s motorsport adviser Dr Helmut Marko has stressed that the company remains committed to the sport, and doesn’t have a new engine partner lined up.

Marko told Motorsport.com, “Our immediate ambition for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons is to work with Honda to chase race wins and be strong championship contenders.”

“Beyond that, we will work with our teams to evaluate the most competitive power unit solutions for 2022 and beyond. We remain committed to the sport, with both teams are signatories to F1’s latest Concorde Agreement.”

Team principal Christian Horner says the team understands why Honda are withdrawing from F1, as the automotive industry changes and they respect the decision.

He added, “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.”

“Whilst we are disappointed not to continue our partnership with Honda, we are enormously proud of our joint success, delivering five wins and 15 podiums for both Red Bull-owned teams and we thank everyone at Honda for their extraordinary efforts and commitment.”

Horner says that Red Bull as a signatory to the Concorde Agreement remains committed to the sport.

Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost said the pull out of the sport decision was “unfortunate.”

He added “Alpha Tauri and Honda have built up a very good and professional relationship since we started to cooperate in 2018. It’s unfortunate that Honda has decided to stop their commitment in F1.”

“Their power unit’s performance has been improving constantly and dramatically to become one of the best engines on the grid in a short period of time since they returned to the sport.”

Tost says they respect Honda’s decision and there focus now on carbon neutrality.

 

Red Bull remains committed to F1

Red Bull and Alpha Tauri say they both remain committed to the sport despite Honda withdrawing. Honda announced on Friday that they will leave the sport at the end of next season.

The teams both owned by Red Bull will now be left looking for a new power unit for 2022. The news comes around a month after the teams signed the new Concorde Agreement, committing them to F1 until 2025.

It’s understood that Honda communicated its thoughts to Red Bull in August and made its final decision at the end of September, but now has decided to leave.

Mercedes already has three partners in Williams, McLaren and the rebadged Aston Martin, while Red Bull’s relationship with Renault unravelled before the move to Honda, and forging a reunion would be challenging. While Ferrari has three partners and is currently uncompetitive.

Red Bull’s motorsport adviser Dr Helmut Marko has stressed that the company remains committed to the sport, and doesn’t have a new engine partner lined up.

Marko told Motorsport.com, “Our immediate ambition for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons is to work with Honda to chase race wins and be strong championship contenders.”

“Beyond that, we will work with our teams to evaluate the most competitive power unit solutions for 2022 and beyond. We remain committed to the sport, with both teams are signatories to F1’s latest Concorde Agreement.”

Team principal Christian Horner says the team understands why Honda are withdrawing from F1, as the automotive industry changes and they respect the decision.

He added, “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.”

“Whilst we are disappointed not to continue our partnership with Honda, we are enormously proud of our joint success, delivering five wins and 15 podiums for both Red Bull-owned teams and we thank everyone at Honda for their extraordinary efforts and commitment.”

Horner says that Red Bull as a signatory to the Concorde Agreement remains committed to the sport.

Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost said the pull out of the sport decision was “unfortunate.”

He added “Alpha Tauri and Honda have built up a very good and professional relationship since we started to cooperate in 2018. It’s unfortunate that Honda has decided to stop their commitment in F1.”

“Their power unit’s performance has been improving constantly and dramatically to become one of the best engines on the grid in a short period of time, since they returned to the sport.”

Tost says they respect Honda’s decision, and there focus now on carbon neutrality.

 

McLaren could have blocked Sainz Ferrari move

McLaren says it had the option to block Carlos Sainz’s move to Ferrari next year but opted to release him from an optional extra year in his contract to sign Daniel Ricciardo.

The Spaniard will replace Sebastian Vettel after it was announced in May, he would not be retained for 2021. A few days later, it was announced Sainz would leave McLaren to replace Vettel, that was then followed by McLaren announcing Ricciardo as Sainz’s moved to Ferrari.

It later emerged that that talks between Sainz and Ferrari had started over the winter, but CEO Zak Brown said he was aware of the situation and could have blocked the switch if McLaren’s Ricciardo deal fell through.

Speaking to F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, the American said, “We could have kept him – we had an agreement where we could have stopped that, we had an option.”

“We tried to get Daniel Ricciardo the first time around, a couple of years ago [in 2018], so he was always highest on our list, and when Andreas [Seidl, McLaren Team Principal] joined, we kept in touch with Daniel.”

He says that when conversations started with Ricciardo there was a sense that he wasn’t happy with Renault, which co-inside with Sainz wanting to explore Ferrari, saying the Australian was “a good ending for both of us.”

Brown made clear that he was never worried about a situation where the team was left without Sainz or Ricciardo.

 

Ferrari juniors test at Fiorano

Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman began preparations for their F1 practice debuts by testing two-year-old Ferrari cars at Fiorano.

Schumacher, son of seven times champion Michael, and Ilott will both make their practice debut at next weekends Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, with Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively,

The German said following his second outing in an F1 car, “Now I have a very clear view of how I have to drive the car and I already now have a step closer to how it will be in Nürburgring. It does give me more confidence to arrive to the Nürburgring and know what I have to do.”

Schumacher and Ilott both took part in tests last year, but for Shwartzman it was the first time he had driven an F1 car. All three currently are in contention for the F2 title going into the final rounds in Bahrain in late November and early December.

Ilott said “It was nice to complete about 40 laps in the SF71-H. What a great car. It’s amazing the power these Formula 1 cars have and also the downforce you have. Really, really special and something I’ll remember for a very long time.”

About his debut F1 in Germany next Friday, the Englishman added “I don’t know exactly what to expect. Obviously, you’ve got to approach it and do everything in the right way, but it should be really exciting and a great opportunity”

Looking ahead to FP1 next Friday, he said he doesn’t know what to expect but says it should be really exciting and a great opportunity

 

13,000 fans a day at Imola

Organisers of the Emilio Romagna Grand Prix at Imola say that 13,000 fans will be able to attend each day of the two-day event over the weekend of 31 October and 1 November at Italy’s Imola circuit, which last held a F1 race in 2006.

A statement from Imola said it had been “possible to obtain a significant public presence” owing to a “meticulous anti-Covid health security protocol”.

The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari held a Grand Prix every season between 1980 – 2006. But its place in history was cemented with the events of 1994 when Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna were killed in high-speed accidents on consecutive days.

The circuit has been returned to the F1 schedule as the result of the largely Euro-centric calendar constructed by the sport as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The two-day format is an experiment as it looks to build longer championship seasons moving through the 2020s.

 

F1 reports biggest coronavirus rise in six weeks

Formula One says that there were ten new cases of Coronavirus in the week to Thursday 1st October. It carried out 1,822 tests in the week and everyone who tested was all ancillary personnel.

The cases were up four on last week, it says “The presence of fans has not affected that situation as the public was not allowed to enter the F1 bubble as per our protocol in force.”

Its the first rise in cases in six weeks, where one case has been reported each week. But as Europe enters autumn most countries are seeing rising cases.

 

The Week Ahead

The week ahead is likely to be the focus on Red Bull search for a new engine supplier, the Honda withdrawal wasn’t one we expected and now we need to watch how Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari react.

I don’t see where Red Bull and Alpha Tauri go, Renault/Alpine language over the last few years sounded like they want not just supply but a partnership but do Red Bull want that. Mercedes or Ferrari won’t want to supply there biggest rival, this is likely to play out over the winter until the June deadline.

Lewis Hamilton failed to win a record-equalling ninety-one wins in Sochi, and doing it in Germany would be special as it equals Michael Schumacher at his home race, that will be a story throughout the week. The news agenda is likely to focus on Hamilton, can he bounce back from Sochi?

This will be Sebastian Vettel’s home Grand Prix, now his future has been decided I think questions won’t be as intense about form if we were going to the Nürburgring without his future decided. But, he won’t be able to defend his 2013 win.

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.