Horner reveals why Honda only signed until 2021

Jamie Woodhouse
Honda say the targets they hit in 2019 built important trust with Red Bull.

Honda say the targets they hit in 2019 built important trust with Red Bull.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner says Honda won’t commit to F1 beyond 2021 until they have more information on engine rules beyond that year.

The Japanese manufacturer announced this week that they would continue to supply Red Bull and Toro Rosso for the 2021 season, signing a one-year extension on the existing deal.

Honda are enjoying their best season since returning to F1 with Max Verstappen picking up three wins for Red Bull, while Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat have each scored a podium in Toro Rosso colours.

But F1 will emerge for the 2021 season looking very different with new financial, technical and sporting regulations on their way.

As part of these changes engine development is expected to become far more restricted post-2021, and as Horner explained, it’s this what is making Honda shy away from committing to F1 beyond 2021 just yet.

“It’s great news that they’ve committed beyond 2020, so we’ve got a minimum of two years that we’re absolutely fixed on,” he told Sky Sports.

“They’re just waiting to see what are the regulations that are going to come in either for 2021, or primarily ’22 with regards to homologation or engine freezes to get the costs down.

“These engines are enormously expensive, and the technology involved. I think all the manufacturers together want to see some cost reduction in that area.

“We’re talking about the future. The discussion wasn’t just about ’21. There’s a real appetite there to build on what we’ve achieved so far in this relationship. It’s a great partnership between Red Bull and Honda as we’ve seen this year.

“I think the key aspect moving forward is absolute clarity on those rules.”

Red Bull ditched Renault power to join forces with Honda for 2019, and Horner is very happy with how the first year has gone.

“Three victories this year, could have potentially been more, two pole positions – three that we achieved but didn’t start from pole on one of those three occasions – it’s been a great year for them,” he said.

“The reliability has been better, the performance has been getting stronger and stronger. You can see that in motion with the pride, the passion that exists within Honda. It’s great to see and great to be part of.

“It’s very easy to embrace people that are enjoying and sharing the same goals and objectives. That’s been a great journey this year. It’s a very different relationship, very different partnership.”

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