Horner: We achieved more victories for Honda than McLaren

Horner: We achieved more victories for Honda than McLaren did

Horner: We achieved more victories for Honda than McLaren

Christian Horner reflected on Red Bull‘s partnership with Honda since the 2019 Formula 1 season, which yielded five Championships and 54 race wins.

Honda built their winning reputation in F1 since their days with McLaren towards the end of the 1980’s when both enjoyed an ultra-successful period.

Both tried to replicate that success in the turbo hybrid era, and rejoined forces in 2015 up until 2017. However it turned out to be a massive failure, the relationship ending in tears, the Japanese carmaker – after brief flirtation with Sauber – moving one with Red Bull in 2020 after what was effectively a probation period in 2019 with Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri).

Red Bull and Honda went through a great run of success in their relationship, which was also not straight forward, as the latter decided to leave F1 again at the end of 2021 just after Max Verstappen won his first Title.

They remained behind the scenes in 2022 supplying power units to Red Bull that were branded RBPT (Red Bull Power Trains), while in 2023 to the forefront with the power units branded Honda RBPT.

Effectively all the success Red Bull enjoyed since 2020 can be accounted under Honda power, and Horner reflected on the relationship with the Japanese firm at the end of the 2023 season after wrapping up both F1 Titles for the second year in a row.

Looking back on how things started, Horner said: “Strategically, McLaren had turned down Honda, Sauber had walked away from a deal with Honda.

Honda seemed to be the sensible option

“So strategically, for us, it seemed sensible to place Honda with Toro Rosso, and then it gave Red Bull Racing the ability to evaluate versus our current partner.

“There was a decision-point in June of 2018 where we had a crossroads where we had to make a decision,” he added.

“And based on the commitment that we could see, based on the resource and the spirit that Honda were applying, it was obvious to us that the Honda route was the right route to go.

“And since the first race in 2019 when we scored a podium on our debut and then three victories that year, bringing Honda back into a winners circle.

“We’ve now achieved more victories for Honda than McLaren during it’s championship days, Max is the most winning Honda driver ever and it’s been a great partnership,” Horner pointed out, referring to Verstappen’s 50 wins with Honda power, Ayrton Senna won 32.

“Honda have been a big part of what we’ve been able to achieve the last few years and particularly this year,” the Red Bull boss concluded.

With new power units planned for 2026, Red Bull have gone their own way developing RBPT and have joined forces with Ford for the upcoming era, a deal announced ahead of the 2023 F1 season.

(Reporting by Agnes Carlier, Writing by Jad Mallak)