In a column on the team’s website, Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner commented on Honda’s decision to retire from Formula 1 after the 2021 season.
Christian Horner: “After the global isolation due to the pandemic, the situation has changed for all automakers and global businesses. Honda shifted the focus of their business, which they were guided by. The team knew that a reallocation of resources that are now allocated to Formula 1 may be required.
At the end of last month, we were informed that the power plant, which they planned to unveil in 2022, will be ready in 2021. At the time, this was neither a good nor a bad sign. We discussed the situation a lot, and when Honda announced their desire to leave Formula 1, it did not come as a surprise to us.
Honda acted openly and very correctly in relation to Red Bull and gave us time. They made it clear that they are determined to complete the cooperation at a high level and are focused on preparing for the next season, which, we believe, will consist of 22 races.
We want to make great strides together, and it is encouraging that Honda is committed to further refinement of the powertrain. Of course, we are disappointed that we will not be able to continue our partnership with Honda, but we are very proud of the results we have achieved in a short time. Honda joined the Red Bull family, starting a partnership with Toro Rosso in 2018 and then with us in 2019.
We are glad that in the first joint season we climbed the podiums and won. I would be lying if I said that it was easy for the team to integrate the new power plant into the chassis and build cooperation, but the initial work with Toro Rosso helped – we gained the experience and knowledge necessary to succeed.
The situation is now clear and we are grateful to Honda for giving us enough time to find a competitive powertrain for 2022 and beyond. We will explore all options and possibilities. Our team won races in the ‘hybrid’ era with two different motors, so we put a lot of emphasis on chassis efficiency. Whatever power plant we use, we will achieve the result. Over the past twelve months, the efficiency of different power plants has converged – all are becoming more competitive.
People keep asking if Honda’s decision will affect our lineup and Max’s departure from the team. I can say that although the terms of the contracts are kept secret, there are no Honda-related clauses in Max or Alex’s contracts, so their departure does not affect anything. After Honda’s announcement, Max and I had a detailed conversation. He is motivated as before, optimistic and trusting in the team.
We have to make serious decisions that affect the team and the sport in general, as they relate to the future power plants and technology, which should be spectacular and in line with the spirit of Formula 1.
News from Honda will not affect current operations. There is a season and a half ahead with Honda motors, and we are determined to continue to progress. Our teams have won five races with Honda and have climbed to the podium eight times this year. We are focused on doing better in 2020 and 2021. “