Outgoing Honda designer Yasuaki Asaki - the man in charge of the company's F1 project since 2015 - hopes the Honda of old with its "strange" engineers remains in Formula 1 beyond 2025.
Since Honda tackled F1 hybrid era, its power unit has evolved from a hopeless, down-on-power and unreliable piece of hardware into a championship winning engine, with Red Bull reaping the benefits of an evolution Honda had started with McLaren eight years ago.
The Japanese company's unit, now branded Honda RBPT following the formalization of its technical partnership with Red Bull Powertrains, will continue to sit at the back of Red Bull's cars until the end of the 2025 season.
Honda has registered with the FIA as a power unit supplier to F1 from 2026, when the sport ushes in its new engine regulations, but the company has yet to confirm its presence in the sport as well as its future partner, with Williams often touted as a probable customer.
Asaki, a long-standing Honda employee who will head into retirement at the end of this month, hopes the Japanese manufacturer remains in F1, if only to carry on what the outgoing HRC director describes as the "strange" spirit that inhabits its engineers.
"But by the time I joined the F1 project, the company was becoming very normal, boring engineers with a very normal way of speaking," Asaki explained, talking to The Race.
"But as we’ve become world champions, we’ve become a group of strange engineers again. I want that Honda to continue."
Since 2015, Asaki has overseen the team of engineers at Sakura that has successfully developed Honda's hybrid powerplant.
While there have been many setbacks and challenges to surmount along the way, Asaki insists there's nothing like F1 to force an engineer to think differently, or to tackle a problem in a more unconventional way.
"That made Honda, Honda, in the old days," he said. "And winning in F1 brings that kind of engineer to Honda again.
"I hope this keeps Honda like that."
Asaki says that it will be up to Honda's board of directors to decide the company's fate in F1 from 2026.
"Of course, I hope for it," concluded Asaki. "But it’s up to the board members, or CEO running the company. It’s their decision."