Honda fell short of expectations in 2020

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda at the Russian Grand Prix

Honda fell short of expectations in 2020.

Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe admits the Japanese manufacturer fell short of their expectations in 2020.

In their second season supplying the Red Bull team, Honda expected the partnership to mount a serious challenge for the titles and snap Mercedes’ run of dominance at the top of Formula 1.

However, that challenge never materialised as Lewis Hamilton strolled to his seventh World Championship in the dominant W11, while Mercedes took the Constructors’ Championship as well by 254 points over Red Bull, making it seven drivers’ and constructors’ title doubles in a row.

And while Tanabe admitted there were some highlights for Honda like Pierre Gasly’s win in the AlphaTauri at the Italian Grand Prix and Max Verstappen’s victory at Silverstone in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, overall the Japanese manufacturer fell short of expectations.

“In terms of Honda’s point of view, we did not get the result we wanted,” said Tanabe, quoted by

“But there were some highlights, like Max winning the 70th Anniversary race at Silverstone and then Pierre got his first win at Monza, the team’s home race.”

Alex Albon Red Bull Honda
Honda fell short of expectations in 2020.

In the end, Tanabe described 2020 as a very “stressful” season due to the global health pandemic, but was full of praise for all parties who worked together to ensure the 17-race season was completed.

“Because of the COVID-19 situation, it was a very unusual season,” he said.

“But everyone who took part in the season did well to maintain the situation in the paddock.

“So this season is one that people will remember for a long time. Formula 1, the FIA, the organisers and all teams did very well in a very stressful season and to get to the end of the season, it was good.”

Honda will depart Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 campaign and Red Bull are hoping to take over their intellectual property.

At the moment, Helmut Marko, head of the Red Bull driver programme, rates the chances of that happening at “80-85%”.

“Our plans are to carry out engine maintenance on our existing Red Bull campus and to adapt a hall for it,” said Marko in conversation with

“Of course, this option is more expensive. But firstly, we get the engine which, in co-ordination with the chassis department, promises the best, in terms of the placement of the units.”

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