Honda are interested in joining Formula E, but describe it as “advertising using racing, rather than pure racing”.
Motorsport.com report that Formula E would like to expand in Japan due to its position at the forefront of the electric vehicle market, and the series’ boss Alejandro Agag has targeted a race in Japan and wants a full-time driver from the country on the grid.
Renault went down a similar path but in reverse order, becoming one of the first manufacturers to commit to the series before leaving to focus on Formula 1 – handing the team and their powertrain development work to alliance partner Nissan.
Honda are believed to be fans of Formula E’s cost efficiency and technology, but Honda’s F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto says the team are holding fire on entering the series for now, despite the upcoming launch of their first electric vehicle in Europe – the Honda e.
“Formula E is done inside of cities, as a street race, and it’s kind of like advertising using racing, rather than pure [traditional] racing,” Yamamoto told Motorsport.com.
“As Honda, we have conversations with Alejandro Agag. We are always keeping eyes on the category. We have announced our electric car already, which is going to be on sale in Europe soon.
“There are many Honda customers who are interested in our electric cars so it’s good to appeal to them.
“And there must be technology we can take away from the races to the road cars. That’s the reason we have interest.”
Honda’s Formula 1 future is unknown beyond 2020 but Max Verstappen’s win in Austria, the first for a Honda-powered car since their return to the sport, could be vital in convincing them to stay in the series.
Motorsport.com claim Honda wouldn’t enter Formula E before 2020/21, but with Porsche’s arrival next season, the grid will be maxed out with 12 teams.