Honda are the manufacturer who seemingly just don’t know how to say goodbye, with the Japanese company announcing that they are to take up a bigger role in their partnership with Red Bull and AlphaTauri, starting from their home race this weekend.
This weekend’s first Japanese Grand Prix will see the Honda logo return to the front of both the RB18 and the AT03, with it set to remain there for the next three years.
Honda joined the Red Bull family in 2018, where they powered AlphaTauri whilst they were known as Toro Rosso.
In 2019, the Japanese manufacturer also supplied power units to Red Bull, with the peak of their success coming in 2021, with Max Verstappen claiming the Drivers’ Championship.
It seems somewhat convenient that the partnership has been reignited at the Grand Prix where Verstappen will likely win a second World Championship, with it also being Honda’s home race.
Whilst Honda said they were going to be ‘officially’ leaving the sport at the end of 2021, they’ve continued to offer technical support to Red Bull all season and have produced their power units.
The return to a stronger partnership is set to last until the end of 2025, with the new engine regulations set to be introduced in 2026.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner is “looking forward” to be working closely again with Honda, with the Brit hoping for the “most success possible”.
“Honda has invested significantly in hybrid technology over the course of our partnership,” said the Red Bull boss.
“This has ensured the supply of competitive power units to both teams, for which we are very grateful. Our combined goal is to continue to deliver dominant engines and achieve the most success possible in the following three years.
“To mark this, we look forward to welcoming the Honda logo back on to the car from Suzuka onwards.”
Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko is reportedly set to open talks with the Japanese manufacturer about a potential deal for 2026 and beyond, following the breakdown in talks between the Austrians and Porsche.
At the moment Red Bull are set to supply their own power units from 2026; however, it would come as no shock if Honda’s return to Red Bull lasts beyond 2025.
Marko is “proud” and “confident” in the team’s partnership with Honda, but interestingly says that the deal will last “until the next generation”.
“Oracle Red Bull Racing and Honda Racing Corporation have achieved great success in Formula One together,” said Marko.
“With these new agreements, we are proud to continue going from strength to strength with the technical support from HRC until the next generation of engines are introduced in 2026.
“We are confident this relationship with HRC will set us up for more success over the next three seasons and thank them for their ongoing support.”
As well as the Honda logo featuring on both teams’ cars for the next three years, Verstappen, Sergio Pérez, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda will attend ‘HRC Thanks Day’ on Sunday 27th November.
Pérez will also become an ambassador for the Honda Racing School, which will see the Mexican giving a lecture to students in November.
AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost is also “very thankful” for everything Honda has done for the Red Bull family and is looking forward to seeing the “iconic logo” back on both cars.
“Over the years we have developed an amazing working relationship with Honda and it’s great to be continuing to strengthen this with a variety of activities, including displaying the iconic logo on the car once again, starting from the Japanese Grand Prix,” said Tost.
“We are very thankful for the hard work from Honda during our time together, allowing us to achieve several podiums as well as Pierre’s race win in Monza, and we hope that this success will continue into the future.”