Honda is ending its participation in Formula 1 in order to focus its research and development on fuel cells and battery EV technologies, the company announced. It currently builds the turbocharged hybrid power units for Red Bull Racing, which sits in second place in the F1 constructor standings, along with Red Bull’s development team Scuderia AlphaTauri.
Honda said that it achieved its goal of earning victories with three wins last season and two so far in 2020. However, it believes that the auto industry is going through a “once-in-one-hundred-years” period of transition and it has decided to strive for carbon neutrality by 2050. As such, it will funnel its R&D money into green power unit and energy tech, including fuel cell and battery EV technology. All the knowledge it amassed in F1, particularly in the areas of energy management and fuel technologies, will be transferred to its new battery and power unit research center.
Honda has been famously reluctant to build EVs, as it preferred to stick to gas and hybrid cars while focusing carbon-neutral research on hydrogen fuel-cell technology. The company recently released its first EV in a long time, the Honda E, though even that was an uphill battle within the company. The fact that it’s shooting for carbon neutrality by 2050 means that it could start developing new electric vehicles at a faster rate.
Honda will continue to work with the Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri Formula 1 teams until the end of 2021. The automaker still supplies twin-turbocharged engines for IndyCar and rumors have surfaced that it might enter Formula E electric racing at some point.
Update 10/2/2020 3:09 PM ET: The post originally implied that Honda was exiting motor sports, but it still manufactures engines for IndyCar racing. The article has been updated to clarify that information.