Honda Prepared to Throw the Kitchen Sink at Mercedes in Last Season in F1

Honda is not holding back on its goals for its last official season in Formula 1 before exiting the series at the end of the 2021 season.

For Honda, it’s the championship or bust. To say Honda is prepared to pull out all the stops is an understatement.

“We have not yet reached our goal of being champions,” said Masashi Yamamoto, managing director of the Japanese manufacturer’s F1 program.

Yamamoto was speaking on the day Red Bull’s 2021 car was revealed, and this time the sported prominent Honda branding on the rear wing.

“Racing is our passion and we are not satisfied that we have not achieved the title,” Yamamoto added. “So we said, ‘let’s move the engine from 2022 to 2021’. We will work hard in this last season of Honda in Formula 1.”

Red Bull is taking over the engine program from 2022, but team boss Christian Horner says Honda personnel will still aid with the assembly.

“The fact that they advanced developments that were only planned for next year shows the enormous effort they are putting into this,” Horner said.

Visibly, the 2021 car appears almost identical to its predecessor, but Horner predicts the team will be even more competitive this season. Last season, Red Bull with Honda power finished second in the F1 Constructors’ Championship standings. Max Verstappen managed two wins over the 17-race schedule for Red Bull.

“We took many lessons from 2020 and part of the problem was in the complexity of our wind tunnel,” Horner said.

Verstappen has a new teammate in Sergio Perez, and Perezsounds happy to have dispensed with the pink helmet livery he used at Racing Point.

“For the past few years I had to have pink for reasons you all know, but now I’ve finally gotten back to my favorite colors,” Perez said during a break at the two-day test at Silverstone.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is confident Perez will be stronger than Alex Albon was in 2020.

“We assume that he will lose two or three tenths to Max, but not five,” Marko said.

Meanwhile, 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg agrees that Verstappen should have the edge this year.

“Only Max Verstappen can get a little closer to Lewis Hamilton this year,” Rosberg told Augsberger Allgemeine newspaper. “Maybe his new teammate Sergio Perez as well, if Red Bull’s car works. Valtteri Bottas’ chances diminish every year when he doesn’t take advantage of them.”

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