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Red Bull and Honda announce partnership extension

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Red Bull and Honda have revealed the continuation of their partnership in motorsport from 2022 after the Japanese manufacturer steps back from its official involvement in Formula One.

The race-winning F1 partnership may come to an end at the close of the 2021 season, but Red Bull and Honda have not only revealed a special livery for this weekend’s Grand Prix, but also announced a new collaboration from 2022. As expected, Honda will continue to support Red Bull Racing and their sister team AlphaTauri in 2022. In 2023, the full control over the power unit supply moves to the new Red Bull Powertrains division. 

In a statement Red Bull noted: “The diversification agreement will see the Red Bull group of companies and Honda work together on a variety of motorsport activities, encompassing the transition of power unit development from Honda to Red Bull Powertrains, young driver development, marketing and branding initiatives, as well as competitive activity across a range of motorsport disciplines.

“In F1, 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.”

Red Bull confirmed the continuation of their young driver programme, the Red Bull Junior Team and Honda Formula Dream Project, to further develop young talented Japanese drivers to follow in the footsteps of Yuki Tsunoda.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “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. This stretch of Honda’s Formula 1 voyage is coming to an end but together we are embarking on a new and fascinating journey.”

Koji Watanabe, Honda’s chief officer for brand and communication operations, 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.”

Image Credit: Red Bull Racing | AlphaTauri

As this would have originally been the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, Red Bull and AlphaTauri will run special liveries this weekend to celebrate the successful 4-year-partnership and give Japanese fans the opportunity to say farewell to the manufacturer Honda.

The twin Red Bull Racing RB16B cars of Max Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Pérez will feature a predominantly white livery inspired by the legendary Honda RA 272 car, in which US racer Richie Ginther secured the company’s maiden Formula One win at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix. Meanwhile, at AlphaTauri, the rear wings of the AT02 cars driven by Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda will feature the one-word message ありがとう(arigato), meaning ‘thank you’.

Since launching the partnership in 2018, Red Bull and Honda have together scored 35 podium finishes and 11 pole positions to date.

Horner said: “We had all been looking forward to giving Honda’s Japanese fans a chance to celebrate our extremely successful relationship in Formula One, on home soil at Suzuka. With the race falling victim to the pandemic, we just couldn’t let the weekend pass without paying tribute to Honda and its amazing home fans by bringing a little bit of its heritage to Istanbul. The livery chosen for our cars pays homage to Honda’s remarkable F1 journey and hopefully we can give fans another victory in those legendary colours this weekend.”

Watanabe added: “Everyone at Honda is extremely disappointed that the Japanese Grand Prix has had to be cancelled, while fully understanding and agreeing with the reasons behind this decision. We were especially keen to race at Suzuka Circuit, as it is our last year in the sport, at a time when both our teams are performing very well. We also appreciate that the Japanese fans were particularly looking forward to seeing Honda’s last appearance here and Yuki Tsunoda driving in his home race. We know that a special livery cannot replace what would have been a very exciting weekend, but we hope that Honda fans around the world, especially those in Japan, will accept this special livery as a small token of our appreciation of their continued support over so many years.”


Headline Feature Image: Red Bull Racing

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