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Yamamoto “mixed feelings” over Red Bull’s re-branded Honda engines

Max Verstappen at Bahrain pre-season testing in 2021. Credits: Red Bull Content Pool.

Masashi Yamamoto does not feel completely at ease knowing that Honda engines will still be in use in F1 but in a re-branded state.

Last year, Honda made the big call to withdraw from F1 involvement following the 2021 season after supplying Red Bull teams since 2018. However, since then it became known that Honda will not truly be absent from the sport after 2021 – Red Bull and Honda agreed that the team would use the Japanese manufacturer’s technology to build its own power unit until 2025, in which a new generation of engines will be released. Therefore, the Japanese manufacturer, which has a history in F1 dating back to 1965, will partially remain a part of the sport despite pulling out of direct involvement. According to Honda’s motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto, the phase of transition to next year’s engine production is underway.

“We have [decided] the overall direction with Red Bull and we are now in the phase of sorting out the details of how Honda can support the program from next year onwards. We’re still working that part out,” Yamamoto said.

The new division under which Red Bull will produce these engines will be known as Red Bull Powertrains Ltd, and Yamamoto admits that it will feel strange to have Honda components in F1 that don’t bear the Honda badge.

“Personally I’m really glad that at least from next year they have something that we have made,” he remarked. “As Honda, we like to support Red Bull with what we can to give them a competitive power unit that means they can fight for championships. If we can give it to them then that would be really great.”

“There will not be any Honda branding on the car or the engine, so it will be mixed feelings seeing the car that has a Honda power unit,” he added. “The heart of the car is a Honda however it’s not really a Honda!”

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