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Marko: Honda’s F1 exit was “tense situation”

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 07: Honda branding is pictured on the car of Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on October 07, 2022 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko admitted that Honda’s withdrawal from Formula 1 created a “tense situation”.

Red Bull and Honda began their cooperation in 2018 when Honda started supplying power units to Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri). A year later, the Japanese manufacturer began providing engines for Red Bull Racing.

In 2020, Honda announced that it would leave F1 at the conclusion of the 2021 season. Despite Max Verstappen’s victory in the Drivers’ Championship, Honda did not change its decision.

Red Bull found itself in a difficult position because of Honda’s exit as it did not have a power unit supplier beyond 2021. The Milton Keynes-based outfit decided to work on the engines by itself under the Red Bull Powertrains brand.

Nevertheless, Red Bull did not cut ties with Honda as they have a partnership until 2025. Furthermore, Honda registered itself as a power unit manufacturer for the 2026 season.

“It’s a tense situation that has a history,” Marko told Auto Motor und Sport about Honda’s departure.

“When Honda announced its withdrawal two years ago, we would have had nothing at all – Honda didn’t even want to supply the existing engine.

“We were able to gradually transform that into the cooperation as we see it today.

“At the same time, to safeguard the future, we set up our own engine plant – which is state of the art with the latest test benches and measuring instruments. We have the same commitment from Honda in Sakura.

“When it came to deciding who would do what from 2026, some things got difficult, it was thought that Honda would only do the electrical part, but we couldn’t come to an agreement.

“A decision [on future collaboration] will be made soon.”

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