Honda pushing hard to end ‘adventure on a high’

Date published: August 26 2021 - Michelle Foster

Max Verstappen points to the Red Bull logo while celebrating Austrian GP victory. July, 2021.

Ahead of their 50th grand prix with Red Bull, Honda’s Toyoharu Tanabe has thanked Red Bull and vowed to end their partnership on a “high”.

After a year with Red Bull’s junior team, Honda joined forces with the senior team in 2019 with Max Verstappen taking their first win at the Austrian Grand Prix.

However, midway through their second season together Honda announced that 2021 would be their last year in Formula 1, the company citing a “once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation” in the motoring industry as the reasons.

This season has proven to be Honda and Red Bull’s most successful year together with six wins in the first half of the championship.

Honda are hoping to add a seventh to that as they celebrate their 50th grand prix together with Red Bull at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Honda’s technical director Tanabe said: “It’s always good to be racing at Spa and this weekend also marks a special moment for us, as Sunday’s race will be Honda’s 50th in partnership with Red Bull Racing.

“In a short space of time, we have achieved some great results in this hybrid era, such as our first win in Austria in 2019 and first pole in Hungary that same year, as well as our first double podium with Red Bull in Bahrain 2020 and, most recently, the fact we have taken five consecutive wins so far this year.

“Honda had been back in Formula 1 for four years before joining up with Red Bull and we had not even scored a podium finish, so we have come a long way to be now fighting for the championship together with Red Bull. This is down to a lot of hard work and excellent communication from everyone at Honda and Red Bull.

“On the eve of our 50th race, I want to thank Red Bull Racing for their open and fair approach and the trust they showed in us, sharing the same goal. In addition, we must not forget the contribution from the drivers in that time.

“Another key factor was our excellent cooperation with Scuderia Toro Rosso back in 2018, which laid the groundwork for partnering both teams as from the following year and we are proud of what we have achieved so far. There are only around a dozen races still remaining for Honda’s F1 project and we will all be pushing as hard as possible to finish this adventure on a high.”

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Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says he is “enormously proud” of what Honda and Red Bull have achieved in their short time together.

“Our relationship with Honda has grown from strength to strength since we started working together at the beginning of the 2019 Formula One season,” he said. “We are enormously proud of our joint success to date, delivering 11 wins and 32 podiums from 49 race starts.

“Spa will mark our 50th race together and this is a great moment to reflect on what we have achieved so far, build on that success and also thank everyone at Honda for their extraordinary effort and commitment, which has enabled us to be in the position to fight for a championship this year.”