Red Bull remains committed to Formula 1 “in the long term” in light of engine supplier Honda’s impending withdrawal from the championship.
Honda stunned F1 by announcing it would call time on its involvement in F1 as an engine manufacturer at the end of 2021, which will leave two teams on the grid in Red Bull and its sister outfit AlphaTauri without an engine supplier.
Honda had joined AlphaTauri in its previous guise as Toro Rosso back in 2018, and took on the supply deal for the main Red Bull outfit a year after.
It scored race victories with both teams, a significant improvement from its wretched three-year stint with McLaren, but Red Bull has been unable to mount a challenge against the dominant Mercedes outfit.
In a statement released by Red Bull, team principal Christian Horner re-affirmed the company’s commitment to F1, while pointing out that the energy drink giant has been in a similar situation before when its relationship with previous supplier Renault soured.
“As a team we understand how difficult it has been for Honda Motor Company to reach the decision to step back from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season,” Horner said.
“The shifting focus within the automotive industry has led to Honda’s decision to re-deploy their resources and we understand and respect the reasoning behind this.
“Their decision presents obvious challenges for us as a Team but we have been here before and with our strength in depth we are well prepared and equipped to respond effectively, as we have proven in the past.
“Whilst we are disappointed not to continue our partnership with Honda, we are enormously proud of our joint success, delivering five wins and 15 podiums for both Red Bull owned teams and we thank everyone at Honda for their extraordinary efforts and commitment.”
AlphaTauri released a similar statement to Red Bull’s, with team principal Franz Tost quoted as saying: “It won’t be easy to find an engine partner like Honda but, of course, we will start looking at all possibilities to find the best power unit solution from 2022 onwards.”
Red Bull and AlphaTauri both signed on to the new F1 Concorde Agreement, which will govern the championship’s financial side between 2021 and 2025, earlier this year.
“Our joint focus for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons are unchanged, to fight for victories and challenge for the championship,” Horner continued.
“As a signatory to Formula 1’s latest Concorde Agreement, Red Bull Racing remains committed to the sport in the long term and we look forward to embarking on a new era of innovation, development and success.
“As a group, we will now take the time afforded to us to further evaluate and find the most competitive power unit solution for 2022 and beyond.”
Red Bull’s quest in finding an engine supplier within the current F1 pool will be complicated, with Mercedes and Ferrari having both long been reluctant to supply a direct rival.
The two aforementioned manufacturers also supply three teams each, with Mercedes taking on a fourth in McLaren in 2021.
The only other existing option, Renault, will only provide engines to its works team in 2021 and its power unit programme would thus appear ripe for expansion – but the once-successful partnership between Renault and Red Bull concluded on a particularly sour note in 2018.