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No Plans to Revive Honda F1 Factory Team, Says Yamamoto

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Toro Rosso Honda's Daniil Kvyat at 2019 Mexican GP
Photo: Honda

Honda F1’s managing director says the manufacturer has no plans to revive its Formula One factory team despite incoming budget caps that should, in theory, make it easier for new teams to get into the sport and be competitive.

Honda is currently enjoying its best year in F1 since returning to the sport as McLaren’s engine supplier in 2015. Max Verstappen won both the Austrian Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix, even qualifying on pole in Hungary (and setting the fastest lap during Mexican GP qualifying, though a penalty prevented him from starting on pole).

But when asked whether these promising results are encouraging Honda to consider reviving its factory team, “No, not at the moment” was Honda managing director Masashi Yamamoto’s response. “We know that continuity in Formula 1 is very important,” he said. “So we have done five years for power unit and somehow now reaching a good area. However, if we start the chassis now we are going to have another struggle again, which we don’t want.”

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Honda previously ran a factory team from 1964 to 1968, then again from 2006 to 2008, though never performing particularly well. However, its history as an engine supplier is both deeper and more successful, having supplied a variety of teams from 1983 to 1992, then again from 2000 to 2005, and across those periods winning six constructors’ championships, five drivers’ championships, and over 70 Grand Prix races.

Yamamoto did, however, acknowledge that being involved in the sport only as an engine supplier, which no other engine manufacturer is doing, compromises Honda’s ability to influence the direction of the sport, as it has less say in future regulations.

“There’s not much advantage for being a supplier in this world,” he said. “However as you can know from our name Honda Motor, we have started with engine. So we think we are the specialists about engine so we want to be the top in the highest technology of engine world for us. That’s what we are trying.”

“Of course, it’s kind of like a disadvantage being a supplier in terms of regulations. But we are joining the manufacturer’s meeting for power units so we can discuss about the regulations there. In addition about regulations and sporting regulations, technical regulations, we can discuss with Red Bull and Toro Rosso.”

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