It looks like Honda is not done with Formula 1 yet. After initially announcing its exit from F1 last year, the Japanese automaker will supposedly continue supplying engines to Red Bull Racing.

According to Red Bull Racing boss Helmut Marko (via Autorevue), there has been a big change of plans. Honda supposedly intends to continue supplying complete F1 engines from Japan to Red Bull Racing and Alpha Tauri until the end of 2025.

“The engines will be manufactured in Japan until 2025, we will not touch them at all. That means that the rights and all these things will remain with the Japanese, which is important for 2026 because it makes us newcomers,” said Marko to Autorevue. 

The original plan saw Honda cease official works involvement with Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2021 season. From 2022, Red Bull Racing will be using Honda’s intellectual property with regard to the power unit. This means Red Bull Racing will also act as an engine manufacturer - producing their own power units to compete in F1. In addition, RBR will also be absorbing Honda Racing Development and its employees to form Red Bull Powertrains.

Honda will continue to be involved but will be limited to trackside and race operation support from Japan. The shift will also help RBR transition from a constructor/engine customer to a constructor and engine manufacturer. But with Honda now reportedly staying in F1, Red Bull Racing can breathe a sigh of relief as the Japanese automaker can continue supplying power units for the coming year. 

But why did Honda have this supposed change of mind?

Marko said that Red Bull Racing taking victory last season has seemingly encouraged Honda to remain closer to F1.

“In the course of our ever-greater successes, a certain rethinking has taken place among the Japanese. And also that they could of course use the battery knowledge for their electrification phase,” added Marko. It was initially planned that they would only make our motors for 2022. Now it has been decided that this will continue until 2025, which is, of course, a huge advantage for us. This means we only have to make fine adjustments and calibrations”

With Honda supposedly not leaving F1 any time soon, it looks like the heated rivalry between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 will continue. Until then, we’ll be waiting on Honda’s official announcement about its future plans for Formula 1.