Honda will be parting ways with Red Bull Racing as their engine provider after the 2021 season.
Takahiro Hachigo, the president of Honda Motor Company, says the decision is a result of the company switching priorities.
He said: “At this time, Honda made a decision to further accelerate such initiatives and strive for ‘the realisation of carbon neutrality by 2050’ in order to realize a sustainable society.”
The shock decision bring one of the sport’s In 2019 Red Bull announced that Honda would become their engine provider for the main racing team .
Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull, said: ‘’We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso, and by the scope of their ambition, which matches out own.
“We look forward to working with Honda in the coming years and to racing together in pursuit of F1’s biggest prizes.’’
What does this mean for Red Bull?
One positive Red Bull can take from this is that, they will still have the Honda engine that has given them success up until 2021. This is great for the Austrian based side who have slowly been mounting up the pressure on Mercedes, however they still have not been winning enough races.
The reliability of the engine has been positive , as there has been barely any DNF’s from engine failures and only minimal times where the engine has caused them to lose places.
Red Bull now have ample time now to try find a replacement, with many teams already funding other team’s engine there only seems to be one option.
New engine providers
In motorsport the engine is the biggest part of the car so when you don’t have a confirmed one it can send a team into a frenzy.
If you look at the engine’s available, basing these on this year’s current grid, there is only one option – Renault.
In the 2020 grid Mercedes currently supply 3 teams which is their main team, Williams and Racing Point. With Red Bull being one of the Silver Arrows biggest threats we shouldn’t expect to be seeing them use a merc engine anytime soon.
Then you have Ferrari who also supply three teams along with themselves . They provide engines for Haas and Alfa Romeo, again they compete in the top three usually , so will not be willing to compromise that.
This leaves one team which is Renault, the French team only supply two of the teams being themselves and McLaren but in 2021 that will not be the case, McLaren will be making the switch from the Renault to Mercedes which does leave an open spot if they need some extra money.
Here comes the problem, Red Bull and Renault don’t have the best of relationships with each other , Christian Horner has publicly criticised Renault numerous times such as “weren’t supplying engines meriting the payment” . This was a huge claim as they were still in the contract and had to finish of that season with the engine.
If you also watched Drive to Survive on Netflix you would know that Horner and Cyril Abiteboul don’t see eye to eye.
The problem that Red Bull have is that no other team apart from Renault won’t give them an engine, with Renault also not having the best track record with Red Bull, there will be major doubts of that happening. So, who provides an engine?
When the change to Honda happened, it was a big move in the world of F1, as it meant that for the first time Red Bull would become a works team and would not fund another team for their engine.
Many suspected that this could lead to a new era for the drinks company team as they could finally compete and not have to worry that another team’s engine is failing them. This throws a huge spanner in the works as now they may have to sacrifice grid position after 2021 to learn their new engine better.
Money makes the world go around and it’s the same in F1 with millions being pumped in every weekend to fix cars and improve them. So, with Honda leaving, Red Bull’s money with have to be spend a lot more carefully as if the do have to pay for an engine they may have to use a lot older parts.
One positive they can take is that they are the most known team in terms of outside of motorsport. So, they can promote a lot more and gain more followers and more sponsor backing. Which a lot of the other teams can only do through drivers but Red Bull can do the opposite and raise the stock of their drivers rather than the brand.
With the second seat seemingly invisible at this point lets look at Max Verstappen, the Dutchman who is the main man at the team will have nerves heading forward into 2021.
Max, who recently signed a new contract until 2023, will have his worries if they do go back to Renault as back when they provided the engines, he didn’t have many positive things to say about them.
One positive in terms of drivers is that it has been looking like F2 upcoming driver Yuki Tsunoda , may be called up from the junior program which would mean they save some money on wages and lose some of the more hefty wages.
It will be very interesting to see how Red Bull pan out over the next two years and how successful the motorsport team can be.