Honda have shut down speculation that a return to F1 might be on the cards in the near future. The engine manufacturer chose to walk away from the sport at the end of 2021, with their partnership with Red Bull coming to an end just as Max Verstappen clinched his debut World Championship. Whilst they are still closely involved with developing the team's power units under the Red Bull Powertrains project, Honda chief executive Koji Watanabe insists that the company are not currently discussing an official return. "We are very interested in looking at the trends within Formula 1, but that doesn't mean we will be returning to the premier class any time soon," Watanabe told Japanese website as-web . "Right now we are looking at the technological developments that we want to focus on for the time ahead, so there is no discussion going on about a return to F1."
Honda decision to quit F1 was "tough"
Watanabe admits that choosing to leave Formula 1 was a difficult decision, but adds that it was necessary in order for the manufacturer to focus on achieving their CO2 targets. "Honda takes motorsport very seriously, so it was a tough decision to quit," he explained. "The company chose to focus on carbon-neutral technologies. As a result, there was nothing left to do but to abandon the F1 project." However, with F1 continuing to work towards having a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030, this would suggest that Honda could theoretically return to F1 whilst still complying with their CO2 goals.
Honda continuing to keep an eye on F1
Despite there being no plans in place for a comeback, Honda have not completely ruled out the idea of returning to F1 at some stage. "We are watching what happens," Watanabe told Autosport . "There is no plan, but the door is not closed. The road F1 wants to take from 2026 is the same as Honda. So the door is not closed. "There are some factors we have to keep an eye on. First we have to aim for CO2-neutral production. When we have achieved that, we can consider a return to F1. "If we want to return in 2026, we have to determine that within the next year and a half."