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Honda overjoyed with F1 title: All the struggles finally paid off

Honda will leave F1 as title winners after Max Verstappen's dramatic victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Honda F1's Technical Director, Toyoharu Tanabe, has declared that "all the ups and downs and struggles" of Honda's latest spell in the sport were justified after Max Verstappen's title triumph in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen stole the crown away from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in a one-lap shootout following a late Safety Car period, meaning Red Bull's engine partner, Honda, leave F1 as World Champions.

Honda returned to F1 as McLaren's engine partner back in 2015 but struggled for performance and reliability, leading to a split after three seasons.

However, when Honda teamed up with Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) in 2018, and the senior Red Bull squad followed suit a year later, significant progress was made - enough for Red Bull to challenge for title glory this season.

The last lap of the last race

Honda will now bow out of F1, as the newly-formed Red Bull Powertrains company take over the intellectual property and running of the power units from 2022.

Reflecting on the breakthrough achievement, Tanabe said: "Honda started this current F1 project back in 2015 and from the very beginning, winning the championships was always our goal.

"We put a lot of effort into it, challenging ourselves every day as we strived to improve and now, on the last lap of the last race of the season and the last race of Honda's time in the sport, we have achieved our goal.

"All that effort and challenging spirit has paid off and I can't really find the words to express what this means."

Paying tribute to Honda's staff

Red Bull were unable to secure the title double as Mercedes maintained a 28-point advantage in the Constructors' standings, but that did not take away from Tanabe and Honda's feeling of pride.

"Unfortunately, we missed out on the Constructors' title, but we are still happy that with Max we won the Drivers'," said Tanabe.

"All the ups and downs and struggles of the past seven years finally paid off.

"During that time, engineers and mechanics from HRD UK [Honda Research and Development UK] and Sakura and other Honda departments never gave up, continuing development work and making so many breakthroughs, working hard day after day.

"The fruits of that were seen tonight in Abu Dhabi."

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