Honda has 'mixed feelings' about Red Bull using unbadged engine

ยฉ XPB 

Honda F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto admits he'll have "mixed feeling" next season watching Red Bull's teams race on with the manufacturer's unbadged power unit.

Honda will officially exit Formula 1 at the end of 2021 as it begins to redirect part of its engineering resources to zero-emission technologies.

But the Japanese company will nevertheless retain a link with the sport as Red Bull Powertrains takes over Honda's F1 engine program for the following three seasons.

"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 programme from next year onwards. Weโ€™re still working that part out," Yamamoto told Formula 1.com.

"Personally, Iโ€™m really glad that at least from next year they have something that we have made.

"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."

ยฉRedBull

But Yamamoto admitted that he's conflicted about the idea of Red Bull racing on, and hopefully winning, with Honda's anonymous engine in the back of its cars.

"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 itโ€™s not really a Honda!"

Honda's original plans called for the manufacturer to introduce an all-new unit in time for the 2022 season. But the company's decision to leave the sport at the end of 2021 compelled it to bring forward to this year its latest unit, a move that was done on a very tight schedule.

"In the very original schedule before Covid hit, the power unit was meant to be brought in 2021," explained Yamamoto.

"But then Covid happened and that had an impact on development so we delayed it until 2022. Then things changed again because we announced weโ€™d be leaving F1 at the end of 2021, so we brought it forward again to this year.

"Obviously we stopped a bit of the development of the 2022 engine because of the Covid situation โ€“ maybe for a few months โ€“ and then we brought it forward again to 2021, therefore it was very tight in terms of the timeframe. The engineers in Sakura did a very good job.

โ€œWhen you take into account the period we had available to us, it was very tough. But we have piled up lots of knowledge since 2015 [when Honda returned to F1 with McLaren], so I trusted the engineers that they could do it.

"We were sure and we knew that this power unit has more power, therefore we wanted to race with a better engine with more power, so our determination was really strong."

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