Honda and Chevy will announce an extension of their engine supply agreement with IndyCar tomorrow at IMS, hence any speculation that Honda may also leave IndyCar is now put to rest.
On Saturday it will be announced that the new 2.4L V6 IndyCar engine and KERS rollout will be delayed until the 2023 season.
What won’t be announced Saturday is a third engine supplier. We hear Ferrari has told IndyCar to move forward without them. So for the 10th straight year IndyCar has again failed to land a 3rd supplier.
October 2, 2020
With Honda’s decision to quit F1 to focus on electric propulsion automobiles of the future, what does the future hold for Honda in IndyCar?
Of course Honda spends much less on IndyCar, but still significant sums. IndyCar still runs zero electric motors/batteries in its cars. They run 100% internal combustion air polluting engines and they have resisted any move to hybrid for a decade. They announced a move to hybrid, but are now dragging their feet on rolling it out.
President of Honda HPD, Ted Klaus, all of a sudden retired out of the blue. Did he see the writing on the wall?
Honda isn’t the only automaker leaving gas motorsports. Over the last few years, several automakers have ended their programs and instead decided to focus on electric racing, especially Formula E. Porsche and Audi quit after successful stints in Le Mans, and Mercedes pulled out of German motorsports series DTM.
While Honda has not announced a move into electric racing, this announcement shows similar reasoning for pulling out of gas motorsports. There just isn’t anything left there for the future. Motorsports is expensive, and manufacturers will only remain involved in it for two reasons: R&D and marketing.
Some motorsports advancements have made their way down to road cars, and motorsports has long served as a testbed for road car R&D. But motorsport, particularly F1, has become less “road-relevant” over time as they chase more and more extreme margins of performance. F1 focuses mostly on high-speed aerodynamics these days, and engines work on such precise margins and extreme temperatures that they would never work in road cars.
So, primarily, marketing is the main reason for motorsports these days. A common saying goes: “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”
And Honda wasn’t winning in F1. In a series that is meant to show their expertise — small hybrid engines, from the company that produced one of the first and most efficient hybrids ever, the Honda Insight — they just aren’t winning. And participating in gas motorsports when the tide is quite obviously changing against polluting engines just doesn’t make any sense.
October 2, 2020
Red Bull Racing acknowledges the decision by the Honda Motor Company to withdraw from Formula One at the end of the 2021 season and would like to thank the company for its exceptional efforts as power unit supplier to both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri.
Our Team partnership provided immediate success with Max Verstappen scoring Honda’s first victory since 2006 at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, followed by three further victories and 13 podium finishes in just 31 race starts.
Additionally, Scuderia AlphaTauri’s victory at this year’s Italian Grand Prix saw Honda become the only power unit manufacturer to win with two different teams since the start of Formula One’s hybrid era in 2014.
This decision does not affect Honda’s commitment to achieving our shared goals during the remainder of our partnership as we aim to build on our joint success until the end of 2021.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Team Principal Christian Horner, said: “As a Team we understand how difficult it has been for Honda Motor Company to reach the decision to step back from Formula One at the end of the 2021 season. The shifting focus within the automotive industry has led to Honda’s decision to re-deploy their resources and we understand and respect the reasoning behind this. Their decision presents obvious challenges for us as a Team but we have been here before and with our strength in depth we are well prepared and equipped to respond effectively, as we have proven in the past.
“Whilst we are disappointed not to continue our partnership with Honda, we are enormously proud of our joint success, delivering five wins and 15 podiums for both Red Bull owned teams and we thank everyone at Honda for their extraordinary efforts and commitment.
“Our joint focus for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons are unchanged, to fight for victories and challenge for the championship. As a signatory to Formula One’s latest Concorde Agreement, Red Bull Racing remains committed to the sport in the long term and we look forward to embarking on a new era of innovation, development and success. As a group, we will now take the time afforded to us to further evaluate and find the most competitive power unit solution for 2022 and beyond.”
Honda Press Release
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has decided to conclude its participation in the FIA*1 Formula One (F1) World Championship as a power unit supplier at the end of the 2021 season.
In 2015, Honda resumed competition in F1, the most prestigious automobile racing series in the world, with the goal to win using its own energy management technologies. Initially, Honda experienced a number of difficulties; however, by demonstrating the collective strength of “All Honda,” including the utilization of its aircraft engine technologies, Honda has realized a high level of competitiveness.
Moreover, as a result of the growth Honda achieved together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri under a strong partnership with both teams, Honda was able to attain its goal of earning victories with three wins last season and two wins* so far in the 2020 season.
In the meantime, as the automobile industry undergoes a once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation, Honda has decided to strive for the “realization of carbon neutrality by 2050.” This goal will be pursued as part of Honda’s environmental initiatives which is one of the top priorities of Honda as a mobility manufacturer.
Toward this end, Honda needs to funnel its corporate resources in research and development into the areas of future power unit and energy technologies, including fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and battery EV (BEV) technologies, which will be the core of carbon-free technologies. As a part of this move, in April of this year, Honda created a new center called Innovative Research Excellence, Power Unit & Energy. Honda will allocate its energy management and fuel technologies as well as knowledge amassed through F1 activities to this area of power unit and energy technologies and take initiatives while focusing on the future realization of carbon neutrality. Toward this end, Honda made the decision to conclude its participation in F1.
Motorsports activities are in Honda’s DNA, and therefore Honda will continue to be passionate about taking on challenges and striving to become No. 1 in all categories of racing in which Honda participates.
In F1, in order to fulfill the expectations of its fans, Honda will work together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri to continue competing with its utmost effort and strive for more victories all the way to the end of the 2021 season.
With its “challenging spirit” cultivated through motorsports activities, Honda will take on the new challenge of the future realization of carbon neutrality.
Honda will appreciate the continuous understanding and support for its motorsports activities and for the new challenge of Honda.
<For reference> Speech by Takahiro Hachigo/President, Representative Director and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Honda has decided to conclude its participation in the FIA Formula One World Championship as a power unit supplier at the end of the 2021 season.
In 2015, Honda resumed competition in F1, the most prestigious automobile racing series in the world, with the goal to win using our own energy management technologies. And this year has been our 6th season. Initially, Honda experienced a number of difficulties in the areas of performance and reliability and continued an uphill battle. However, by demonstrating the collective strength of “All Honda” – including the utilization of our aircraft engine technologies to improve performance, and utilization of our mass-production technologies to improve the combustion efficiency of our engines – we were able to significantly increase our competitiveness.
As for partners, which is the key factor in competing in F1, we have been privileged to work with amazing teams, namely Scuderia AlphaTauri since 2018 and Red Bull Racing since the 2019 season. Members of AlphaTauri, which was Scuderia Toro Rosso at that time, believed in Honda’s potential and signed a contract with us. Since then, they have been fully supporting Honda and we kept advancing ourselves together. AlphaTauri Honda claimed our first victory at the Italian Grand Prix last month, and it was the 50th race we competed together since we began our challenge. It was the result of our unrelenting effort to date, and we had no words to describe the joy we experienced at Honda.
With Red Bull Racing, our top team well-equipped for winning, we set a clear goal of winning the championship titles and established a strong partnership. As a result, we have been able to demonstrate our high competitiveness. Thanks to our solid partnerships with both teams and high level of competitiveness we have earned, we have claimed three wins during the last season and two wins so far this season. On behalf of Honda, I would like to express our gratitude again to both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri for enabling us to fulfill our ambitions of winning F1 races. Also, I would like to express our appreciation to the FIA, Formula One and many people who were involved for all the support they have given to Honda since we decided to compete in the F1. And more than anything, we are grateful to our fans for their passionate cheering and encouragement for Honda. Thank you.
Now, shifting focus onto the business environment facing Honda, we see the automobile industry is undergoing a once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation. It has been a while since we started communicating Honda’s intention to focus on the creation of new mobility products and new value for the future. Especially, we view our environmental initiatives as one of the top priorities of Honda as a mobility manufacturer. In 2010, Honda set a vision to realize “the joy and freedom of mobility” and “a sustainable society where people can enjoy life,” and since then, we have been making progress in our initiatives to strive for the elimination of our environmental footprint.
At this time, Honda made a decision to further accelerate such initiatives and strive for “the realization of carbon neutrality by 2050” in order to realize a sustainable society. To this end, our current goal of “electrifying two-thirds of our global automobile unit sales in 2030,” will become a checkpoint we must pass before we get to the 2050 goal, and therefore we must further accelerate the introduction of our carbon-free technologies.
To realize our goals, we will focus on strengthening our research and development in the areas of future power unit and energy technologies. In April of this year, we revamped the organizational structure of Honda R&D which will focus on the future technologies of Honda, and we created a new center called Innovative Research Excellence, Power Unit & Energy. While leveraging various power unit technologies Honda has amassed to date, including power units for FCVs, battery EVs and turbo jet engines for aircraft, this center has already started research and development of new power units which will support a carbon-neutral society of the future. Moreover, to realize carbon neutrality, we need not only carbon-free power units but also carbon-free energy. Honda has already been researching into various energy technologies, but we will make a major enhancement in this area as well.
For the future realization of carbon neutrality, Honda will make a major change in the course of our challenges and concentrate our corporate resources on research and development of new power units and energy technologies. As a part of this change, we decided to allocate our energy management and fuel technologies as well as our human resources amassed through F1 activities to research and development of advanced power unit and energy technologies. Under such an enhanced R&D system and capability, Honda will focus on the creation of advanced power unit and energy technologies and the realization of carbon neutrality in the future.
In F1, Honda achieved a certain level of success by attaining our goal to claim victories. And now, we will funnel our strengths into achieving innovations in the new field of creating carbon-free power units and energy and realizing carbon neutrality. This will be a challenge as tough and difficult as competing in F1, and it will be a huge challenge Honda must take on together with society. Today’s announcement is also about expressing Honda’s determination to take on a new challenge of realizing carbon neutrality. Together with stakeholders of Honda, we will continue our all-our effort and strive for the realization of carbon neutrality.
Ever since our founding, Honda has been advancing its technologies, developing its engineers and nurturing its strong passion for victory through challenges we have taken in motorsports. Racing is in Honda’s DNA, and therefore Honda will continue to be passionate about taking on challenges and striving to become No. 1 in all categories of racing in which Honda participates.
We still have seven more races this season, and we are introducing a new power unit with improved performance for the next season. In order to fulfill expectations our fans place on Honda, we will work together with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri to continue competing with our utmost effort and strive for more victories all the way to the end.
Thank you in advance for your continuous understanding and support for Honda’s motorsports activities and also for the new challenge we will take.