The Red Bull Formula 1 team have confirmed that they will continue working with Honda in 2022.
Honda is stepping down as a full engine supplier at the end of 2021, with the Japanese company previously announcing it’s exit, with Red Bull taking the intellectual property to rebadge Honda’s F1 engines as Red Bull Powertrains from next season, with the team’s Milton Keynes factory being expanded to accommodate this.
However, both Red Bull and Honda’s F1 programme announced earlier this week that Honda will assist Red Bull in establishing their Red Bull Powertrains programme over 2022.
In a statement, Red Bull said, “In Formula 1, Red Bull Powertrains will have the right to use Honda IP relating to the Power Unit from 2022. Whilst Honda will support Red Bull Powertrains through the assembly of power units, the provision of trackside engineering support and race operation assistance in 2022, from 2023, RBPT will take responsibility for all manufacturing and servicing of Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri’s engines. Additionally, to ensure team continuity, there will be a transfer of Honda Racing Development UK employees to Red Bull Powertrains.”
This is part of what Red Bull refers to as a “diversification agreement”, which will see the Red Bull group and Honda collaborate on various motorsport activities.
As well as the move to help set up Red Bull’s own engine pool, it will also include young driver development, marketing and branding initiatives, and competitive activity across various motorsport disciplines.
Koji Watanabe, Chief Officer for Brand and Communication Operations at Honda, said, “I’m glad that we have reached an agreement with Red Bull Group covering all the details of the IP rights for the F1 Power Unit and in this way, Honda can still contribute to the motor racing world. We are now working hard to strengthen HRC’s structure, so that it can ensure our fans will be able to continue to enjoy Honda’s role in all types of motorsport.”
Red Bull teams have won 14 races with Honda power, with the full Red Bull team winning 13 races, including eight in the current campaign, and sister team Alpha Tauri winning the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner added, “Red Bull’s collaboration with Honda has been enormously successful and while our relationship in Formula 1 is changing, neither of us wish for that to be the end of the story. We are very pleased that our ambitious and exciting Red Bull Powertrains project will be strongly supported by Honda, technically and operationally, in 2022 and this will help ensure that Red Bull’s transition to the status of chassis and power unit manufacturer is seamless.
“Equally as exciting is the news that our collaboration with Honda will extend to a variety of motorsport activities, from driver development to other racing disciplines and even across the wider sporting world.”
The news was announced ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul this weekend. For the race at Istanbul Park, Red Bull are repainting their cars in a special one-off predominantly white livery as a homage to Honda, over the weekend that would’ve been the Japanese Grand Prix before a covid-enforced calendar reshuffle.