Honda motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto believes the Japanese manufacturer will return to F1 at some point in the future.
Honda left F1 at the end of 2021, after a seven-year stint in the sport that culminated in a World Drivers’ Championship win with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
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The Japanese manufacturer, which worked with McLaren and then AlphaTauri and Red Bull in its fourth stint in F1, has decided to leave to focus on delivering the company’s carbon neutral goal.
Red Bull and AlphaTauri will continue to use a Honda-developed PU in 2022, with many of the Japanese manufacturer’s F1 staff remaining involved in the project known as Red Bull Powertrains – but Honda is now officially gone.
And although Honda has not officially commented on the chances of an F1 return in the future, Yamamoto believes they will be back at some point in the future for a fifth attempt.
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“I personally hope and expect Honda to come back to Formula 1,” he told F1.com. “It depends on the passion of young people at Honda for motorsport and their ability to convince senior management to come back.” But history repeats itself, so hopefully it can happen.
Honda, which won six constructors’ and five drivers’ championships with Williams and McLaren as its engine supplier in the 1980s and 1990s, has come a long way since its difficult comeback with McLaren in 2015.
Masashi Yamamoto ‘really proud’ of Honda’s move to Formula 1
They didn’t get a podium until their fifth year, Verstappen taking third place in the first race of the Red Bull and Honda partnership, but went on to claim 17 wins (16 with Red Bull, one with AlphaTauri) over three seasons, ending with Verstappen’s world title win.
They went from being the most unreliable and slowest engine in F1 to a true challenger, on pure performance, to the class-leading Mercedes in seven years, with Yamamoto saying they were “almost equal to Mercedes” in the pecking order in the last stages of their time. in F1.
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Although saddened by Honda’s departure, Yamamoto said he was immensely proud of the Japanese company’s efforts over the past seven years.
“Although we faced logistical difficulties, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in our last season we fought against very strong rivals and emerged victorious in the world of Formula 1,” he said.
“This is due to the hard work of all our engineers and mechanics, not just those at the racetrack. They never gave up, even in the toughest times, and made many technological breakthroughs along the way.
“We were able to prove the validity and effectiveness of our technology and the capabilities of our workforce. Of course, we could not have achieved these results without the major role played by our great partners, Red Bull Racing with whom we won the title and also Scuderia AlphaTauri, who welcomed us with an open mind, allowing us to move forward together after a difficult three years.
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“We must not forget McLaren, with whom this era began in 2015 and all the drivers who have worked with us, always putting the maximum effort into achieving the best possible results.
“We can say this project has been a success as we leave the sport after helping Max Verstappen win the Drivers’ World Championship.”