The company announced last year that it would part ways with Red Bull once the new regulations come into force for 2022, and while the Austrian team is seeking an engine freeze for that year to allow it to take over the IP of its existing platform, Honda has made it clear that it will not be a part of the sport in the years to come.
Honda has a long history in F1 which has been punctuated by periods of absence from top tier competition stretching back to 1964, securing the first win for both the company and any non-European team a year later.
After withdrawing as a racing team in 1968, the firm returned in the 1990s as an engine supplier before an ill-fated attempt in 1999 to enter as a constructor once more. The ambition to return to racing under its own name was finally realised in 2006 when Honda purchased a majority stake in the BAR team, which was renamed to the Honda works team the following year after the ban on tobacco advertising in the sport came into force.
The team finished fourth in the constructors’ championship that first year, but followed it up with an eighth place finish in 2007 which promoted the recruitment of Ross Brawn as its technical director.
Despite Brawn’s addition, and with Jenson Button and Rubens Barichello driving, the team endured a tough 2008 and placed ninth overall in the constructors’ championship.
With Honda’s head office having to make cuts during the financial crisis of 2008, the decision was made to discontinue the team, which was subsequently purchased in a management buyout by Brawn and former Honda F1 CEO Nick Fry.
The company returned for its latest venture in F1 in 2015 as an engine supplier to McLaren, before it struck a deal to supply Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso for 2018 ahead of a switch away from Renault power by the main team in 2019.