Brawn ‘optimistic’ Honda not leaving for good

Date published: October 12 2020

Ross Brawn (Honda Technical Director, 2008)

Ross Brawn is “optimistic” that Formula 1 has not seen the last of Honda following their decision to leave at the end of next year.

Honda recently announced they are withdrawing from F1 as engine suppliers to the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams, preferring instead to focus on their “environmental initiatives”.

It is the latest chapter in the Japanese company’s on-off relationship with Formula 1 in which they have come and gone several times, enjoying their heyday as an engine supplier with six straight constructors’ World Championship wins with Williams and McLaren from 1986-91.

But when the engine regulations change, Brawn, Formula 1’s motorsport managing director, thinks Honda could be tempted back.

“It’s unfortunate Honda are leaving Formula 1 at the end of 2021,” said Brawn, who was technical director for the Honda team before leading a buyout in early 2009. The team named after himself won that year’s World Championship and were then sold to Mercedes.

“It’s the fourth time in my racing career they have stepped back and come back again.

“I’m optimistic when their situation changes and when F1 evolves, we can engage them again as Honda have always been important and welcome members of the F1 community in the past and hopefully for the future.”

Ross Brawn

Brawn, in his regular column on the Formula 1 website, revealed he understood Honda’s reasons for taking their decision, which has left Red Bull and AlphaTauri with a dilemma over how to source engines from 2022 onwards.

“All automotive companies are facing massive challenges at the moment,” said Brawn.

“We as F1 need to respond to that and make sure F1 meets those challenges, stays relevant and becomes more relevant to provide automotive partners with viable challenges within F1 which can provide support with their objectives away from F1.

“I hope a new power-unit formula which will be introduced no later than 2026 will encourage them to come back again.

“We will also encourage them to be part of new FIA working groups which will recommend what sort of power unit we will adopt in the future.

“They have been great partners in F1 and I look forward to working with them in the future.”

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