Red Bull Racing announced today that they, along with sister team AlphaTauri, will run special liveries as a tribute for their engine supplier Honda, who will be leaving the sport at the end of 2021.
Honda’s latest return to Formula 1 was with McLaren in 2015, a year through the turbo hybrid era, with high expectations of emulating their late 80’s and early 90’s glory years. The reality however, was from that as they endured three horrid seasons where they and McLaren exchanged the blame for failure.
But Red Bull (who were also having a toxic relationship with their supplier Renault at the time) gave the Japanese manufacturer another chance of success, as Honda powered Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) in 2018, before joining forces with the senior energy drinks team from 2019 onwards.
With Honda’s decision to withdraw from F1 at the end of this season, they are enjoying their best season ever as they have a great chance of tasting championship victory with Red Bull and their star driver Max Verstappen.
As this weekend was originally booked for the Japanese Grand Prix (cancelled for Covid-19 related reasons), Red Bull and AlphaTauri decided to run the Honda-tribute liveries during the Turkish Grand Prix. The livery dominated by white color will honor Honda’s race winning RA272, who was piloted by US’s Richie Ginther to the top spot at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner commented on the occasion, he said: “We had all been looking forward to giving Honda’s Japanese fans a chance to celebrate our extremely successful relationship in Formula One, on home soil at Suzuka.
“With the race falling victim to the pandemic, we just couldn’t let the weekend pass without paying tribute to Honda and its amazing home fans by bringing a little bit of its heritage to Istanbul.
“The livery chosen for our cars pays homage to Honda’s remarkable F1 journey and hopefully we can give fans another victory in those legendary colours this weekend.”
Koji Watanabe, Chief Officer for Brand and Communication Operations at Honda expressed disappointment of cancelling this year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
“Everyone at Honda is extremely disappointed that the Japanese Grand Prix has had to be cancelled,” he said. “While fully understanding and agreeing with the reasons behind this decision.
“We were especially keen to race at Suzuka Circuit, as it is our last year in the sport, at a time when both our teams are performing very well. We also appreciate that the Japanese fans were particularly looking forward to seeing Honda’s last appearance here and Yuki Tsunoda driving in his home race.
“We know that a special livery cannot replace what would have been a very exciting weekend, but we hope that Honda fans around the world, especially those in Japan, will accept this special livery as a small token of our appreciation of their continued support over so many years.”
Honda has powered Red Bull to 13 victories, a total of 35 podiums, and 11 pole positions. They are hoping to bid F1 farewell having won both, the drivers and constructors’ championships.