About a week ago, news broke out of Honda, leaving F1 and, consequently Red Bull team. It was a journey of 7 seasons, and the announcement by Honda sent ripples across the board. With the engine partner gone, analysts started talking about the fate of Red Bull and how will the departure affect this team. They can go back to Renault, but the previous tenure of that partnership was a rocky ride that didn’t end well. Even though the Japanese automobile giant’s departure was expected at some point, it was not envisaged by the Red Bull group. Whatever decision Red Bull takes at this time will significantly impact their team in the long-run. After all, this is a matter of power units; they must tread the waters carefully. But are things really bad for the Red Bull team upon Honda leaving Formula 1? To understand this, let us take a look at the journey both have had together.
Where It All Started
This is not the first Honda has dropped out of F1. It first pulled out in 2008 and made a comeback in 2015. It was the second year of the era of hybrid V6 regulations that are currently active. Honda initially partnered with McLaren, but after three seasons of mutual struggle, the companies had a split. To be honest, they never really recovered from that experience. But this is where Red Bull comes into the picture.
The Perfect Match
F1 Honda Red Bull became the perfect formula for a challenging competitor in 2018. Honda partnered with the Toro Rosso team after leaving McLaren. Red Bull owner wanted to utilize the power unit of Honda in the races and was deemed a worthy team up by the Japanese giant. At least it appeared to be much better than Renault. In the month of June 2018, the new partners announced their team up for only the 2019 and 2020 sessions. Later in late 2019, Honda announced to stick to this outfit and AlphaTauri for the year 2021 as well.
Why Honda leaving F1 then
The reason for Honda leaving F1 is presented to be many complicated factors. Reasoning like 2021 contract extension and resources withdrawal from racing has been discussed by the media, but it is really just one thing. Honda aims to develop strategies to move towards alternative forms of energy and lower carbon emission. The goal is to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2050, which is why F1 Honda Red Bull has come to a halt. Honda has been using these races as a part of its research strategy, too but now it intends to use the resources somewhere else.
Is Red Bull doomed after Honda leaving F1
Currently, Red Bull has no alternative power unit deal to work the races for the year 2022 and afterward. This is not surprising in the least, as Honda is leaving F1. The only other options available to Red Bull are financing its own project or reaching out to the VW Group. Financing its own project is an idea rejected by the company heads previously. The FIA regulations can also lead to a forced reunion with Renault, which can be very awkward for both parties, given their bumpy history.
Max Verstappen on Honda Leaving F1
The options for Red Bull seem bleak at the moment as Honda leaving F1 leaves everyone in shock. But what about Max Verstappen’s options? It depends on the nature of his contract with Red Bull. If the company doesn’t have a rabbit up its hat to stroll the champion, he can already look for a few possible destinations. Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes can be drooling over a transfer, but it depends on what looks to be a step forward for the player. Given the current driver market, Verstappen might have to stay at Red Bull a little longer.
Honda to continue supporting Red Bull
Despite going their way, Honda F1 Managing Director has said upon leaving that company will continue to support the Red Bull team for only power unit but for other things as well. Honda is happy to cooperate with both Red Bull and AlphaTauri after the 2021 programme anyway.
Still, have questions over the sudden separation? Here are the answers to the most asked questions:
Which engine is Red Bull using in 2021?
Red Bull will use the Honda power unit for the year 2021 as per the contract.
Will Max Verstappen leaving Red Bull?
It is not confirmed yet, but it is said that he has some performance clauses in his contract that might allow him to leave.
Why does Red Bull have an F1 team?
Red Bull owns an F1 racing team because Dietrich Mateschitz wants to do it and can afford it. Dietrich Mateschitz is the founder of Red Bull.
Is Alpha Tauri owned by Red Bull?
Kind of, Alpha Tauri is a sister company of Red Bull Racing. Both belong to the Austrian beverage company.