Formula 1
Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
47 days
09 May
Next event in
65 days
23 May
Race in
82 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
96 days
13 Jun
Race in
103 days
27 Jun
Race in
117 days
04 Jul
Next event in
121 days
18 Jul
Race in
138 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
152 days
29 Aug
Race in
180 days
05 Sep
Race in
187 days
12 Sep
Race in
194 days
26 Sep
Race in
208 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
212 days
10 Oct
Race in
222 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
236 days
31 Oct
Race in
243 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
264 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
278 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
285 days

Timely win could be key for keeping Honda in F1

Red Bull’s victory in the Austrian Grand Prix could be decisive in helping save Honda’s Formula 1 future, as talks continue on whether it commits to the sport or walks away at the end of next year.

shares
comments
Timely win could be key for keeping Honda in F1

Max Verstappen’s triumph at the Red Bull Ring ended a Honda victory drought that stretches back to 2006, and is its first win since it returned to grand prix racing with McLaren in 2015.

But despite the clear signs of progress it has made with Red Bull after years of frustration with its former partner, serious question marks have emerged about whether or not Honda would remain committed to the sport longer term.

More F1 insights:

Honda made it clear at the start of the season that its success with Red Bull would be important for its future in F1, but another key issue for the Japanese manufacturer revolves around the new rules packages being proposed for 2021.

Initial plans for a huge overhaul of the engine regulations for 2021 were ditched, with the tweaks now agreed between the manufacturer meaning the current turbo hybrid concept will be refined rather than revolutionised.

But with Honda facing the same pressures as other car makers with the switch to electric cars putting pressure on their road car businesses, its bosses were evaluating whether or not the investment required for the new 2021 power units was justified.

Honda’s Masashi Yamamoto, its F1 managing director, told Motorsport.com recently that the company needed to know it had a chance of success if it was going to commit.

Asked how the rules would impact Honda’s decision, Yamamoto said: “It's a little bit related. Of course we don't know what kind of racing it's going to be, and there's a possibility we might be disadvantaged by the new regulations. So of course it's related.”

He added: “F1 is the top category of motorsport. It needs to be a category which includes the pinnacle of technology. That's the demand for F1.”

Amid questions about the 2021 rules, a number of senior Honda executives - including its executive vice president Seiji Kuraishi – travelled to the Austrian Grand Prix for meetings with senior Red Bull management to discuss the future and whether or not the project will be extended.

Speaking after the race, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was open that talks about what Honda would do after 2020 were ongoing and that nothing was definite yet.

“There have been discussions throughout the day, and there are some executives from Honda here,” he explained. “But it was great for the vice president to be here to see Honda’s first victory in the hybrid era. It was a great performance and one that they enjoyed very much.”

Asked by Motorsport.com, if the win could help secure Honda’s future decision, Horner said: “I think the fact that the engine is converging with stable regulations, days like today are only going to help.”

It is clear, though, that delivering Honda’s first hybrid era win right in front of one of its most senior management could not have been better-timed, with a looming board meeting expected to discuss the F1 project.

The final decision will of course come down to management in Japan, and inevitably when company boards have to make such big calls like this, they can often be influenced by the mood of the man in charge.

So it should not be underestimated just how overjoyed Honda’s CEO Takahiro Hachigo was at the result.

"I am speechless when I think about the enormous effort from all the Honda staff involved in this project, who always believed in themselves and never gave up and finally reached today’s victory,” he said.

“I want to thank all our fans. With their support, we will keep challenging as we strive towards our ultimate goal, which is to win the world championship, taking this victory as a first step.

"Any future success we have is also thanks to our fans who are really a part of our team.”

Norris knew Hamilton had more to lose in Austria start battle

Previous article

Norris knew Hamilton had more to lose in Austria start battle

Next article

Ericsson: "Only positives" to F1 test, but IndyCar's the focus

Ericsson: "Only positives" to F1 test, but IndyCar's the focus
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Austrian GP
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso at Alpine Prime

The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso at Alpine

OPINION: It's been an uneasy ride for Esteban Ocon since his F1 comeback - and fresh challenges lie in wait as he's joined by double world champion Fernando Alonso in the newly rebranded Alpine team. STUART CODLING sets out a roadmap to success…

Why Haas is willing to sacrifice its 2021 F1 season Prime

Why Haas is willing to sacrifice its 2021 F1 season

Every Formula 1 team is facing the same difficult decision this season: how do you split precious aero development time between the current car and the all-new 2022 project?

The big questions of F1 2021 - Karun Chandhok Prime

The big questions of F1 2021 - Karun Chandhok

After an unprecedented season last year, there are plenty of questions and storylines for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign. Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok gives his verdict.

How McLaren F1’s new investors have already made an impact Prime

How McLaren F1’s new investors have already made an impact

The deal McLaren concluded with MSP Sports Capital last year which will help the cash-strapped Formula 1 team pay for much-needed infrastructure upgrades, also points toward the future for F1 itself, says GP Racing's Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Feb 27, 2021
Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game Prime

Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game

In a pre-season where Red Bull has been unusually quiet, Max Verstappen has also been guarded about the team's fortunes in 2021. Even after trying the RB16B for the first time at Silverstone, the Dutchman was careful to manage expectations

Formula 1
Feb 26, 2021
The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes Prime

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes

In the strategy for grand prix racing's future, 2021 represents a significant step towards the goal of closer racing and a more level playing field. That's the theory behind the latest raft of changes, but will they have the desired effect?

Formula 1
Feb 24, 2021
What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch Prime

What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch

Red Bull made no secret of the fact its 2021 F1 car is an evolution of its predecessor, but in keeping the same foundations while hiding some tightly-guarded updates with its RB16B, the team aims to avoid suffering the same pitfalls of previous years

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo Prime

How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo

Alex Albon has faced the media for the first time since he lost his Red Bull drive at the end of 2020 and dropped out of a Formula 1 race seat altogether. He has a history of bouncing back from setbacks, so here's what he must do to rise again

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021