Honda exit ‘not F1’s loss and Formula E’s gain’

Date published: October 3 2020

Honda

Formula E’s founder has denied that Honda’s withdrawal from Formula 1 at the end of 2021 is a boost for his series.

Honda have cited their priority for “environmental initiatives” as the reason why they will no longer provide Red Bull and AlphaTauri with engines after next year.

The decision leaves the two Red Bull-owned teams seeking engines for 2022 with only three manufacturers — Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari — remaining in Formula 1.

The most likely options for Red Bull and AlphaTauri are to convince a new engine manufacturer to enter the sport or, under the F1 sporting regulations, become a customer of the provider that supplies the fewest number of teams presently, which is Renault.

But Alejandro Agag, whose city-based series has attracted strong manufacturer interest and enjoys full FIA world championship status, has refuted the suggestion that Honda’s move has strengthened Formula E.

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“I see it as bad news for motorsport in general. I don’t see this as good news for Formula E and bad news for Formula 1,” the Spaniard, who is also launching an Extreme E off-road series next year, told Reuters.

“We in Formula E also need Formula 1 to be successful because we don’t see each other as competitors. We see each other as on the same boat and competing against tennis, football and other sports.

“If one manufacturer leaves motorsport, it doesn’t mean they will come through another door to us. They may stay out of motorsport altogether, so that’s not good news.”

Formula 1 and Formula E are linked through US media mogul John Malone, whose Liberty Media owns the commercial rights to F1 while Liberty Global is a significant shareholder in the latter.

Agag, who also recently unveiled plans for an electric power-boating series, said electrification was an unstoppable trend but that did not mean there was no space for Formula 1 in future.

He compared the situation to horse racing continuing to thrive long after horses ceased to be a regular form of transport.

“There will always be a space for combustion motorsport but it won’t be related to the industry. I think the industry will eventually only focus on electric motorsport,” he added.

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