Honda will have all the deliciousness taken by Ford returning to F1. Red Bull Racing announced its partnership with Ford from 2026 to 2023 at a new car launch event held in New York on Friday, February 3. ‘Ford F1 Return’ dominated the headlines over the RB19 display.
It also means that the partnership between Honda and Red Bull will end in 2025. As a result, Honda ended up taking everything to Ford at the right time as Formula 1 regained popularity and moved towards sustainability. In the first place, Honda was unplanned from the F1 participation. Although Ford and Audi set a five-year preparation period until returning to F1 in 2026 when the new F1 regulations were introduced, it was in 2015 that they began the fourth phase of F1 activities as McLaren’s working partner. It was 2014, “a year later” when F1 engines entered the “power unit era”. The one year delay in entering F1 made a big difference, and Honda’s F1 engine, which had many problems and could not even run properly, disappointed McLaren and was abandoned in three years. Red Bull saved Honda. Adopting Honda’s F1 engine in Toro Rosso from 2018 and giving time for development. Once its potential is confirmed, the original Red Bull Racing will also adopt Honda’s F1 engine from 2019. Five years after returning to F1, Honda won its first victory in the fourth season. However, in October 2020, when the title was finally in sight, Honda decided to withdraw from F1 at the end of the 2021 season. The reason for withdrawing was said to be “the realization of carbon neutrality by 2050”. , but the previous year F1 had declared “carbon neutrality by 2030”. There were many question marks at that time. 2020 is the year the COVID-19 pandemic began, bringing economies to a standstill around the world. I couldn’t see the future. In 2021, Honda’s last F1 year, Max Verstappen won the F1 World Champion. However, the Japanese F1 GP was canceled for three years, and Honda withdrew without running the home Grand Prix at Suzuka during F1’s participation. In a sense, Red Bull has been betrayed by Honda by announcing that it is withdrawing from the partnership only a year later. That would force Red Bull to set up its own engine division, Red Bull Powertrains, to “manage our own future”, according to team principal Christian Horner. At this point, the future of Red Bull’s long-term relationship with Honda ended. After withdrawing from F1, it was initially in the form of technical support until the Red Bull Powertrains system was in place, but inexplicably, Honda even supplied F1 engines to Red Bull under the guise of HRC (Honda Racing) after withdrawing from F1 signed a contract to continue until 2025. F1 fans do not think that Honda has withdrawn, after all, the name HRC will not penetrate, and from GP 2022 F1 Japan the HONDA logo will be posted on the F1 Red Bull machine, and from 2023 Honda RBPT It has even got the name of the engine. Red Bull has offset the cost of playing F1 for Honda with marketing. Meanwhile, F1 has grown in popularity in America with the unexpected success of the Netflix documentary Drive to Survive. In 2022, the F1 Miami GP was added to record the highest audience rating ever for a live F1 broadcast in the US, and a total of 400,000 viewers visited the Circuit of the Americas at the F1 America GP. The F1 Las Vegas GP will also be held in 2023. F1 itself has moved from Europe, which is not Honda’s market, to America, the main market comprising over 50% of the European market. And in 2026, the F1 engine will move to electrification with a 50:50 ratio of internal combustion engine and hybrid, and will be transformed to meet the needs of the market using 100% sustainable fuel. For automakers, the American market, hybrid technology and clean energy provide a perfect platform. In response to this trend, General Motors, which was indifferent to F1, responded and built a cooperative system with Andretti, which aims to participate in F1. Honda has signed up as a manufacturer in the 2026 F1 engine regulations, signaling its intention to return to F1. But in the meantime, Red Bull was ready to build its own internal combustion engine and all it needed was hybrid technology. Apparently Honda wants to participate not only in hybrid technology, but also in internal combustion engines on 100% sustainable fuel. Therefore, it no longer meets the needs of Red Bull. That’s probably why they didn’t choose Honda as their partner for 2026. According to Christian Horner, with Honda, “our path towards the 2026 season is different.” Ford was there. Negotiations had already progressed by the time Honda registered as a manufacturer. Ford will have a champion team called Red Bull, the American market, and a platform for hybrid technology. Immediately, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez created a video of an electric car running on a circuit to appeal to their technical abilities. In the end, Honda took it all with Ford. Even if he decides to return to F1 in 2026, he is in a position where there is no team to partner with. Mercedes customers McLaren, Aston Martin, Williams and Haas want to end their dependence on Ferrari, but there is little faith in Honda, the classic example of F1’s most disgusting ‘get in and out’ strategy. There is also a way to join a team of newcomers, but it will be as tough as the third season, which won only one victory. As a result, Honda is likely to lose a big fish by engaging in an unplanned withdrawal.