Red Bull boss Christian Horner has played down fears the team won’t be as effective in 2022 after their deal with engine manufacturer Honda ended. The Japanese giants withdrew from F1 having undoubtedly contributed to a dramatic campaign, which culminated in Max Verstappen beating Lewis Hamilton to the world title at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Honda returned to F1 in 2015, supplying their former partner McLaren, but things didn’t go well as the British team struggled at the back of the grid, mainly due to issues over the power unit.
Despite those problems, Red Bull, unhappy with their suppliers Renault, took the plunge on taking on Honda for their supply team Toro Rosso after their partnership with McLaren came to end in 2018.
Having been pleased with the progress made Red Bull themselves switched from Renault to Honda the following season, beginning a successful partnership that culminated in a first driver’s title since the 2013 campaign – with Verstappen himself full of praise for the company.
Honda will now leave the sport in a bid to concentrate its resources diverted to research and development on carbon-neutral technologies – but Horner has explained that doesn’t mark the end of the partnership with his team.
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“We’re very grateful to Honda to provide that olive branch as we transition into being an engine manufacturer.
“They’ll come as sealed units from Japan; all the race support will happen from Japan as well this year. It’s a technical agreement, so it’s very broad brush at the moment.”
Horner, 48, did confirm that the engines would be branded as Red Bull ones, but critically, said it would be the same staff working on them after securing the services of a number of Honda employees.
“All the Honda staff, at the end of February, [will come] to our employment,” he added.