Chase Carey, the CEO of Formula 1, believes Honda’s decision to withdraw from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season was economically driven.
Honda announced they would be stepping away from the sport at the end of next season, citing a push for sustainability and carbon neutrality, with the decision leaving both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri without engine suppliers.
Whilst not rejecting Honda’s reasoning, Carey believes other factors played a part in the decision to walk away from Formula 1, with ‘economic challenges’ the major reason why the Japanese manufacturer will not be on the grid.
“I guess two things on the Honda decision,” Carey is quoted as saying to Wall Street analysts by Motorsport.com. “I think one is that it was, from my perspective, largely driven by economic challenges at the overall Honda entity.
“The auto industry in general is having some challenges, and I think Honda clearly is living and struggling with those challenges. So I think that was the core issue.
“There’s no question that there are economics around the engine that we’re going to address. But I think Honda felt those pressures existed today, and they had to make some decisions.”
Formula 1 is making its own push towards carbon neutrality and sustainability, and Carey has revealed they have received support for the project, not just from those already involved in Formula 1, but from other manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, who could potentially join the sport in the future.
“I think on the flip side, we actually are getting increasing support,” said Carey. “And not just from the players that are in the sport, the OEMs that are in the sport, but OEMs that aren’t. They’re actually incredibly enthusiastic about our sustainability future, where we’re going with the next generation engine.
“I don’t know if you saw the quote a couple months ago from the CEO of Volkswagen, they couldn’t have been more positive about where we’re going, and the importance of us as a platform.
“So I think as we continue to flush out and put more information out there about our next generation engine and sustainability goals we’re actually getting increasing support and interest from both existing partners and potential new partners about the importance of that to their future.”