Japanese F1 engine manufacturer Honda wants to say goodbye to Formula 1 with the championship title even though they only achieved three wins in 17 races last season, but they believe that in 2021 with Red Bull they can be close enough to Mercedes.
Honda returned in 2015 as an engine manufacturer after retiring from Formula 1 as a factory team at the end of 2008 and after three frustrating seasons with McLaren, they move to Toro Rosso in 2018, after which Red Bull switched to their engines one year later.
Verstappen was the biggest threat to the dominant Mercedes last year, but due to the big difference in speed the Dutchman was not a title candidate, although he drove a very good season with few mistakes.
Honda will withdraw from Formula 1 at the end of 2021 and leave Red Bull and AlphaTauri without an engine unless manufacturers agree on an earlier freeze on engine development that would allow Red Bull to continue using Honda power units.
“Of course, we are developing a new power unit for 2021, not only for performance but also for reliability, and then we will know if we are still behind Mercedes,” said Toyoharu Tanabe.
“And the other rivals won’t sleep in the pre-season.”
“This season we have a very short off-season, but everyone in Formula 1 is investing the maximum to win races and championships so it’s not easy to say we’re going to win.”
“On the other hand, I would be thrilled to win more races and try to be a candidate for the 2021 championship. We will continue to work hard on our power unit for 2021.”
Verstappen achieved first Honda victory in 2020 in the second race at Silverstone before Gasly added another victory at Monza while Verstappen also celebrated in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi from pole position.
“It was a good result for Honda for the end of the year,” Tanabe said.
“Another positive thing is the improved reliability – we only used three power units per driver and had no power unit related penalties.”
“As we have already announced, at the end of 2021, Honda will withdraw from Formula 1. But our goal remains the same – to win the world championship.”
“Together with our partners, we will work hard during the short pre-season in search of more performance to come back stronger.”