Honda will reportedly be involved with Red Bull until 2025 despite claiming to leave the sport at the end of 2021. The engines developed by the Japanese manufacturer took Max Verstappen to his maiden F1 title victory in December 2021.
Verstappen gave Honda a lovely parting gift at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — their first title victory in F1 with Red Bull. Honda was all set to leave at the end of the year, but new reports by Racingnews365 claim otherwise. Their sources claim that Honda will supply the team with engines until the end of the current hybrid era i.e. 2025, but the Japanese company's name will not be featured on the cars.
The decision will not affect Honda, the same sources claim, as the Japanese company was to leave the sport due to climate change concerns. Since engine development in the sport cannot take place until 2026, Honda has no additional expenditure for RnD, and whatever expenditure does occur can be invoiced to Red Bull.
Ahead of the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in December, Max Verstappen highlighted the fundamental difference between Honda engines and Mercedes engines driven by rival Lewis Hamilton. The Dutchman confirmed that the degradation seen by the Japanese engines is nowhere close to that experienced by their German counterparts. He said:
“We don’t have a [performance] peak like Mercedes. Our engine is fairly consistent throughout its life, so that wouldn't help us very much.”
Red Bull was unable to beat Mercedes to the constructors' trophy despite having a drivers' championship-winning Honda engine.
Key Honda figure rumored to stay with Red Bull in 2022
Masashi Yamamoto, director of Honda Motorsport, is rumored to switch from Honda to Red Bull sometime in 2022, continuing his involvement with F1. The Japanese motorsport executive will remain involved in an advisory role with the team from Milton-Keynes. The news comes from Racingnews365, which claims multiple sources have confirmed the same.
If true, we will likely see Yamamoto in the Red Bull garage alongside Christian Horner and Adrian Newey, who are all set to return in 2022.