Last year, Honda announced that they will be leaving Formula 1 after the 2021 season. This came as a surprise since they only returned to the motorsport back in 2015. With that, both Red Bull and Alphatauri (formerly Toro Rosso) will have to look for a different engine supplier after the 2021 season.
Fast forward to the present day, and it looks like Red Bull will be able to continue using Honda powertrains in 2022. But wait, won't Honda be leaving the motorsport altogether starting next year?
Back in February 2021, the team was able to strike a deal with the Japanese automaker. This will allow them to continue using technology from the Japanese automaker until 2025. Horner also confirmed that 2022 will be a 'transitional year' for Red Bull's powertrain department with its engines set to continue being built in Japan.
“We are just finalizing the detail of that and obviously, as we gear ourselves up within Red Bull powertrains, ’22 will be a transitional year,” said Horner.
But what will exactly happen in 2022? More than likely, Red Bull Racing could still get inputs and help from Honda. Moreover, the team might also get additional parts, as well as more technical know-how in making their own engines.
Come 2023, however, the team plans on becoming self-sufficient, meaning their engines will be built and maintained by Red Bull Powertrains Limited.
“We are working with Honda to have a soft landing where the engines will be continued to be assembled in Sakura in 2022 before that process is taken on in our new facility in time for 2023,” added Horner.
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 technical director, echoed the same statement as Horner said. Currently, he and the rest of the Red Bull Racing team are busy working on making sure they have all the necessary means to develop and maintain their F1 powertrains.
“Red Bull and Honda have been working on that project and then so how to proceed with that transition for next year. I cannot tell the details, but generally, we are going in a good direction and then we should prepare well for next year so now we are working very hard, I am working very hard at the trackside,” shared Tanabe.
With Red Bull Racing currently on a winning streak in Formula 1, could their plan in making their own powertrains help them continue securing victories in the next seasons? We'll have to find out in the 2022 season and beyond.