Honda formally quit F1 at the end of the 2021 season, yet it has continued to support the Red Bull-owned teams on their power units via its racing division, Honda Racing Corporation, in a deal running to the end of 2025.
But Honda branding will now return to the Red Bull and AlphaTauri cars from this weekend after an increased partnership was announced on Wednesday, marking the closest the two parties have grown since the Japanese manufacturer’s works exit.
As well as running the Honda logo on the Red Bull RB18 and AlphaTauri AT03 from Suzuka onwards, Red Bull driver Sergio Perez will take on an ambassador role for the Honda Racing School’s driving academy.
Perez will be joined by Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen and the AlphaTauri drivers, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, at Honda’s HRC Thanks Day on November 27, one week after the end of the F1 season.
“Honda has invested significantly in hybrid technology over the course of our partnership,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
“This has ensured the supply of competitive power units to both teams, for which we are very grateful. Our combined goal is to continue to deliver dominant engines and achieve the most success possible in the following three years.
“To mark this, we look forward to welcoming the Honda logo back on to the car from Suzuka onwards.”
Koji Watanabe, the president of Honda Racing Corporation, added: “The HRC logo on the nose and Honda logo on the side of the race machines of both teams represent the strong ties between Honda and Red Bull Group.
“Through the technical support provided by HRC, Honda will fully support the challenges those machines take on to become the ‘fastest in the world.’
“We are very pleased that these machines will be unveiled at the F1 Japanese Grand Prix, where Honda serves as the title sponsor.”
Watanabe was part of a Honda delegation that visited the Austrian Grand Prix back in July, where he said that F1 was “not a closed door” for Honda from 2026 given the plans for the next generation of power units.
Red Bull is known to be open to working with a manufacturer on a technical partnership from 2026 after its planned partnership with Porsche collapsed.
Horner suggested in the wake of talks breaking down with Porsche that Honda could help Red Bull with its powertrains project from 2026, but noted Red Bull’s in-house operation was already well on its way with plans for the new engines.
A Honda logo on a Red Bull engine cover
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images