Honda logo, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Honda’s base in Japan will supply Red Bull’s 2022 F1 engines

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Honda will continue to supply Red Bull’s Formula 1 engines from its base in Sakura next year, after the Japanese manufacturer’s withdrawal from the sport.

Red Bull is forming its own engine development facility at its Milton Keynes factory to take over the running of its power units from next year. However Honda’s technical director Toyoharu Tanabe confirmed in response to a question from RaceFans that Red Bull and AlphaTauri’s engines will continue to come from Japan.

“Red Bull and Honda have been working on that project and how to proceed that transition for next year,” he said.

“I cannot tell the detail but generally we are going [in] a good direction. We should prepare well for next year so now we are working very hard [and] I am working very hard at the trackside.”

Honda announced in January last year it will withdraw from Formula 1 at the end of this season. Their engines have won five of the first eight races and power the leaders of both championships.

But while Tanabe admitted he personally regretted the manufacturer’s decision to leave, he said their success will not make a different to their planned departure.

“Regardless of the result of this year’s championship or our result, I think Honda’s decision has been not changed from their previous one,” he said. “It means leaving from Formula 1.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the team’s new powertrains operation will take over assembly of the engines after the 2022 F1 season.

“Obviously as we gear ourselves up within Red Bull Powertrains, 2022 will be a transitionary year,” he said. “So we’re working with Honda to have a have a soft landing where the engines will continue to be assembled in Sakura in 2022 before that process [is] taken on in our new facility in time for 2023.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Honda’s base in Japan will supply Red Bull’s 2022 F1 engines”

  1. Its my thinking or the plans changed? Till now i thought there transition will happen when the season ends or earlier but now the seem to delay it.

    1. I think they never really went into detail before on this @bluechris, that’s why RaceFans asked.

      RB certainly presented it earlier as taking over with their new facilities right away, but I think that is just not possible even technically with what is needed to build up the facility, let alone train enough people etc and have everything working smooth enough right away to supply two F1 teams without hiccups.

  2. Maybe they are remembering 2008-2009 and what happened with Honda/Brawn…

  3. I’m please Honda want to continue making the engines for up to another year. My guess is each part is machined to incredibly fine tolerances, and hopefully that carries over to the Red Bull facility at Milton Keynes.
    I don’t know what Honda will do if Red Bull win the WCC because normally that would be a big PR coup. Surely they wouldn’t want to deny their engine won one of the most prestigious motor racing trophies?

  4. Despite their withdrawal, I really appreciate what Honda has done in F1 during this stint. We all know creating a current regulations power unit is extremely difficult let alone a competitive one. So difficult that the likes of the VW Group and other manufacturers have consistently shied away from the challenge. Honda took up the challenge and kept grinding on in spite of their failures early on. Now they have managed to come up with a masterpiece that is likely to end Mercedes multi-year stranglehold on the formula. That is something the other PU makers have failed to do and it is what F1 is all about – throwing everything at pursuing performance and succeeding. I’ll be sorry to see them go but I salute them nonetheless.

    1. in spite of their failures early on.

      It was more McLaren’s failure. They told Honda how to build the PU to fit their car.
      Red Bull told Honda to build the PU, and they would build the car around it.

      1. That is not true though @rvg013. Sure, McLaren set their targets, but Honda went along and felt confident they could match those – otherwise they would certainly not have done so.

        They just overestimated what their design ideas could do, had to rethink their power-unit and ancillaries (twice, I think?) and only got it right after 2 years of running a season long testing program throwing away more engines than made it to the end of races (First with McLaren and then the year with STR)

        1. Not really true. Honda intended to get back in in 2016, but McLaren asked them to do it in 2015 and McLaren simply didn’t manage the relationship very well. You can tell from the first year with the Renault engine that it was really McLaren who was the limiting factor (and they had decided early on to ditch Honda, so that car was definitely made for the Renault engine). After adjusting their policies and getting some good people in, notably Pat Fry, it went better.

          Honda asked McLaren for adjustments, McLaren wasn’t willing to make. The size zero-concept officially was an idea of both McLaren and Honda, but later on, stories were published that Honda already stated that it the size-zero was never going to work.

        2. Ian O'Reilly
          5th July 2021, 10:57

          Remember Honda told McLaren that it would be two years before they would be ready to enter F1, and Ron Dennis apparently gave Honda an ultimatum, if they don’t join they will not supply McLaren… Then what did McLaren do, but only blame Honda not only for their Failures, but for every failure that McLaren had…

      2. I don’t think any of us will ever know exactly how much blame to apportion to either side. Whereas I can’t discount the value of the right working relationship etc, I don’t believe Honda’s PU would have been a match for the Mercedes even if they had started off with Red Bull. Do you think, for instance, that Red Bull isn’t benefitting from a lot of knowledge Honda gained during their time with Mclaren?

  5. Top question by RaceFans. Quite a story this. I was doubtful Red Bull could make it in time, but this could make all the difference.

    1. This is perfect. Honda continues to get some coverage and recognition, Red Bull gets time to complete their Power Unit Factory and systems and we …. lucky us, get to see a continuation of a successful partnership.
      Since there will not be any significant PU development in 2022, if my understanding is correct, then Red Bull should have a competitive package.
      Call it a Win-Win-Win.

  6. Getting out of all the glory of supplying F1 – Check

    Still doing all the work as you’re still supplying F1 – Check

    Top guys at Honda.

  7. So, what will Honda get back for this? Brand display? Money?

    1. La Vie Lemond
      5th July 2021, 13:15

      I’ve been wondering precisely the same thing, Xao…if the original PU design is Honda’s & they will be continuing to build them for RBR in Japan, then how will Honda be any less deserving in 2022 of the kind of positive exposure that they’re receiving from their partnership with the RBR & AT teams this season, with the Honda brand clearly emblazoned upon the sides, noses & rear wings of the four cars in 2021?

      And if Red Bull are to manage to pull off either, or even both – my fingers & toes will remain firmly crossed during each race that it will be both – of the available championships this season, then why would Honda not want their brand associated with the world championship winner the following season, even since they have decided to remove themselves from such an association with combustion/hybrid power units within the pinnacle level of motorsport in the longer term future? After they sold their entire team to Ross Brawn shortly before he won the world championship with Jenson Button in ’09, & after all of the negative publicity that they received during their ill-fated return to F1 with McLaren between 2015-17, then wouldn’t they be mad to not try to let the world know about their phenomenal resurgence during the hybrid PU era as much as possible, & for as long as possible?

      I’ve no doubt that RBR & AT will continue to pay for the engines, according to their current agreement but the FAR more valuable financial earner for Honda would surely be the positive brand association derived from having HONDA’s name clearly branded upon these cars, where even most non-fans of motorsport can’t help but see it, either within newspapers or during the race highlights shown during the following day’s news upon TV? As MasterCard would describe it, that’s PRICELESS! Or perhaps Christian Horner already has plans to rent/sell the newly available advertising space to another car manufacturer that’s not presently racing in F1, just as he did with Aston Martin, back when RBR were still using the – by this stage uncompetitive & unreliable – Renault engines?!

  8. I can see some cost cap shenanigans….

    1. Maybe RBR is having serious 2nd thoughts on cost over runs with inhouse engine development program.

  9. Now that Honda are leaving this year, Red Bull’s 2022 engine are still Honda to me.

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