TOKYO, Japan – Japan’s Honda Motor will end its participation as an engine supplier in the FIA Formula 1 World championship at the end of the 2021 season to focus on zero-emissions technology.
Chief executive Takahiro Hachigo said in an online news conference that the decision was made at the end of September and the company did not intend to return to F1,
“This is not a result of the coronavirus pandemic but because of our longer-term carbon-free goal,” he explained.
BATTERY CARS INSTEAD OF F1 ENGINES
Like other automakers, Honda is rushing to build new-energy vehicles in an industry shift that Hachigo described as “once in a century”. That race is accelerating amid the coronavirus outbreak as automakers review production plans to capture market share with new models – among them low or zero-emissions vehicles.
Honda returned to F1 in 2015 in partnership with the Red Bull Racing team but will now divert resources it used to assemble F1 engines to efforts to accelerate development of zero-emission technologies such as fuel cells and batteries.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told The Corner in a statement: “We understand how difficult it has been for Honda to reach the decision. We understand and respect the reasoning behind this.”
TOYOTA SEES FASTER GROWTH
Honda is about to launch its first mass-produced battery sometime in October 2020 – the Honda e – and has announced plans for two-thirds of the company’s output to be new-energy vehicles by 2030.
Domestic rival Toyota has already said it expects annual sales of electric vehicles to reach 5.5-million by 2025, five years earlier than initially planned.