Honda is leaving the Formula 1 world at the end of 2021 as their official main goal is to focus on Zero-Emission Technology. But it extended its IndyCar partnership until the end of this decade. By 2022, IndyCar will use similar engines as Formula 1, just with less power. So the real reason for the company leaving Formula 1 is financial. Let’s look at the top problems Honda faced in the sport and see if the brand can recover from some infamous downs.
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Surely, many have already forgotten, but in 2005, Honda bought out the leading stake in BAR, getting its own team in Formula 1. Broken by own failures and problems due to the global economic crisis in 2009, the team was sold to Ross Brawn for 1 pound. Honda was literally a step away from winning: Brawn used all the possibilities of a superbly designed car, and with a Mercedes engine, the Brawn team won the Constructors’ cup in the first and only year of its existence, and Jenson Button became World Champion.
World’s worst partnership
Honda returned as an engine supplier for McLaren in 2015 and their partnership was supposed to last 10 years. But this collaboration can be safely called the worst in the history of the sport. From the first GPs, it became clear that their engine was a nightmare.
Honda was literally a step away from winning.
The following year was a bit more successful, after which McLaren made a bold announcement that they would challenge Mercedes. But in 2017, after a complete reconstruction of the engine, the nightmare repeated again – the trust between the two parties was completely destroyed, after which the only correct decision was to end the partnership ahead of schedule, which was announced during the season.
Honda’s first attempt at a hybrid engine can only be described as genuinely unlucky. The company’s management associated problems with turbo, fuel inefficiency, and the hybrid system in general.
It seems, in cooperation with Alpha Tauri and RedBull, Honda found loopholes in the regulations and was able to solve its problems because now the engine is second only to Mercedes in terms of power.
Despite the fact of enchanting Verstappen and Gasly wins, the podiums of Kvyat and Albon, the Honda engine still is very unstable: Max’s endless DNFs are the best proof of this. Honda has only a year to solve their reliability issue and to deliver on its promise to Red Bull.