The Japanese manufacturer is departing F1 at the end of the season with Red Bull agreeing a deal to take on the IP of the existing Honda power units and bring its production in house at its new Red Bull Powertrains division.
As part of the transition, Red Bull and AlphaTauri will continue to receive their F1 power units from Honda’s Sakura facility in 2022.
Honda has produced its most competitive power unit since it returned to F1 six years ago this season and the engine has helped Red Bull mount its first sustained title bid since 2013.
To pay respect to the work Honda has done during their three-year alliance to date, Red Bull has unveiled a one-off livery for the 16th round of the season at Istanbul Park.
It was originally intended to be run at Honda’s home event, the Japanese Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place this weekend before it was cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 issues in the country.
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) October 6, 2021
Red Bull’s RB16B cars of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will feature a predominantly white livery in a nod to Honda’s RA 272 car, in which US driver Richie Ginther claimed the Japanese company’s first F1 win at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri cars will feature the word ‘Arigato’ – meaning thank you in Japanese – on the rear wing of the AT02.
“We had all been looking forward to giving Honda’s Japanese fans a chance to celebrate our extremely successful relationship in Formula 1, on home soil at Suzuka,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
“With the race falling victim to the pandemic, we just couldn’t let the weekend pass without paying tribute to Honda and its amazing home fans by bringing a little bit of its heritage to Istanbul.
“The livery chosen for our cars pays homage to Honda’s remarkable F1 journey and hopefully we can give fans another victory in those legendary colours this weekend.”
Koji Watanabe, Chief Officer for Brand and Communication Operations at Honda added: “Everyone at Honda is extremely disappointed that the Japanese Grand Prix has had to be cancelled, while fully understanding and agreeing with the reasons behind this decision.
“We were especially keen to race at Suzuka Circuit, as it is our last year in the sport, at a time when both our teams are performing very well. We also appreciate that the Japanese fans were particularly looking forward to seeing Honda’s last appearance here and Yuki Tsunoda driving in his home race.
“We know that a special livery cannot replace what would have been a very exciting weekend, but we hope that Honda fans around the world, especially those in Japan, will accept this special livery as a small token of our appreciation of their continued support over so many years.”