Why Honda Is Quitting F1 in 2021 and Why the Sport Should Be Worried

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Honda dropped a massive bombshell on Formula One by announcing their exit from the racing sport. It may have sounded reasonable had Honda left the entire racing scene. However, the company’s choice to leave F1 alone throws a bad light on the world’s greatest motorsport championship.

Since their re-entry into F1, Honda have gone through a roller coaster ride. They struggled to give Mclaren a decent car to even fight for the top 15. But as the years progressed, Honda have looked better and more competitive. When a top team like Red Bull opted for Honda, it showed the engine supplier’s growth in the industry.

Amid such rapid growth, Honda’s sudden decision to leave F1 only raises questions on F1’s approach towards the development of the Power Unit.

Max Verstappen Racing powered by Honda in Russian GP Qualifying
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during practice. Pool via REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Honda cited two major reasons for their exit from Formula 1. One is the regulation changes from 2020 that are looking way too expensive for the Japanese company. Such regulation changes could spoil the suppliers’ bid to further develop their Power Units.

Instead, they will be forced to spend a huge amount of money to build an entirely new Power Unit. Considering Honda’s participation in other racing series apart from F1, such expenses could lead the company to go bankrupt.

The other reason that Honda pointed out was F1’s direction towards growth in technology. Honda have mentioned that the technology F1 have opted to go after is no longer relevant to the company.

The Statement Released By Honda

Honda released a statement that mentioned their reason to leave Formula 1. The statement revealed that the company is looking to focus on striving for “the realization of carbon neutrality by 2050“.

To this end, our current goal of ‘electrifying two-thirds of our global automobile unit sales in 2030,’ will become a checkpoint we must pass before we get to the 2050 goal, and therefore we must further accelerate the introduction of our carbon-free technologies,” read the statement.

To realize our goals, we will focus on strengthening our research and development in the areas of future power unit and energy technologies.

Now shifting focus onto business environment facing Honda, we will see the automobile industry is undergoing a once-in-a-hundred-years period of great transformation.”

The statement stressed the point that Honda considers the “environmental initiatives” as their top priority. The automobile company set the initiatives back in 2010 and also mentions that they have made progress in fulfilling the vision.

Honda Announces Exit From Formula 1

Honda shocked Formula 1 with their decision to leave the industry by the end of 2021. Takahiro Hachigo, CEO of Honda, expressed his gratitude to the two teams that are running with their Power Unit.

On behalf of Honda, I would like to express our gratitude again to both Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri for enabling us to fulfil our ambitions in winning F1 races,” Hachigo said. Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly handed Honda the two race wins in this season.

Both Red Bull and AlphaTauri have suffered a major blow from Honda’s decision. With the technical regulations around the corner, both the teams will need to make their decisions wisely on which engine they are going to opt for. As of now, it is more likely that either Renault or Ferrari could be their suppliers from 2022.

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