This weekend sees the full Honda branding return to the Formula One Red Bull Racing cars. Honda withdrew from F1 in 2020 to concentrate on electric and carbon zero projects. However, due to the power unit development freeze the Red Bull cars are using the same engines which are in fact manufactured by Honda.
The Honda branding is not just for the Japanese GP but will remain on the Red Bull cars for the rest of the season. Given the very recent collapse of talks between Porsche and Red Bull the revival of the Honda relationship is surprising for some.
Cynics amongst us might believe Red Bull Racing merely strung Porsche along to the last minute but that said Christian Horner had been banging on since early summer about a “cultural fit” as a necessary ingredient with any parter Red Bull Racing engaged with.
Porsche looking at other options
Clearly the Porsche board in Stuttgart were too demanding over issues of control which RBR were unhappy to relinquish.
Subsequent reports following the Porsche/Red Bull partnership breakdown suggested that Porsche would no longer look to join Formula One. However, Porsche CFO now confirms, ”Formula 1 remains an interesting racing series for us.
“We’re looking to see if there are any other viable options,” he told Sport1.
“But we are not allowing ourselves to be pressured into making a decision that we are not convinced of.”
FIA deadline for 2026 entrants flexible
The FIA’s latest deadline for new entrants for 2026 to sign on the dotted line was penciled in for mid October, however it appears given the recent collapse of the Red Bull – Porsche talks the FIA may allow some flexibility on the final date for a 2026 commitment.
Helmut Marko recently observed, ”All I can say is that Formula 1 is booming at the moment, so it’s a logical step for every manufacturer to think about getting involved.”
“There are some manufacturers, not only German ones, who are also interested in this.”
Ford and Hyundai considering F1 entry
Ford and Hyundai are considering F1 forays, though time is short even if the current deadline is extended.
Red Bull is pressing on with its all new Red Bull Powertrains division, though the renewed relationship with Honda may well see the Japanese manufacturer look after all things electric as the new F1 PU’s will develop 50% of its power from the battery related technologies.
Red Bull would clearly develop the Internal Combustion Engine.
Commenting on the renewed Honda relationship, “We are the prettiest bride in the paddock,” Marko joked
Honda soft re-entry to F1
Max Verstappen who climbed into his father’s Honda powered F1 car in Suzuka commented, “It’s just great to have the Honda name back on the car.
“Who knows what’s going to happen in the future. I’m probably not the right person to speak to about that, but it’s nice to have the full name back on the car.”
If Porsche are to enter the sport the most likely partners are either McLaren or Williams. However, Porsche will have to lower their expectations given neither of the famous British marks have been winning championships in recent memory.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 7, 2022