Pierre Gasly stands on his Alpha Tauri racing car after winning the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. So far it is Honda's second F1 win of the year. [credit: Red Bull ]
On Friday morning in Tokyo, the Honda Motor Company shocked the world of Formula 1 by announcing it has decided to leave the sport at the end of 2021. The decision was explained in a speech by Honda President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo:
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.
Instead of spending $164 million (€140 million) a year on an F1 engine program, Honda will instead devote those resources to carbon-free technology for road cars, including battery and fuel cell electric vehicles. A Honda Formula E program has already been ruled out, but we believe the IndyCar program will continue unchanged, given that it is funded by the American Honda Motor Company.
By my count, this is the fifth time that the Japanese automaker has quit F1; it contested the sport as a manufacturer of its own car and engine between 1964-1968 and from 2006-2008 and as just an engine supplier to other teams in the 1980s, 2000s, and then again since 2015.