Honda will have to solve a major problem by 2026

Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), the racing division of the Japanese automotive giant, has a significant challenge to overcome to properly prepare for 2026, when the company will become Aston Martin’s official partner and supply the team with next-generation powertrains .

The difficulties that Japanese motorists foresee and are willing to acknowledge are due to the fact that Honda management initially decided to phase out the Formula 1 program at the end of 2021. At the same time, HRC has committed to providing technical support to Red Bull Racing. and AlphaTauri, two teams, for four years, with whom she has a long-term collaboration.

But because engine modernization has been frozen since 2022, the same number of specialists is no longer needed to continue working with these teams, nor do they require the same resources as in previous years.

As a result, the HRC staff was downsized and many engineers were transferred to other divisions of the company, including solving various types of problems in the production of production cars. And Honda’s British racing powertrain division was sold to Red Bull Powertrains, a new division of the Milton Keynes-based team. In addition, some Japanese specialists have moved there.

All this cannot but affect the preparations for 2026, although Toshihiro Mibe, executive director of Honda Corporation, assured that HRC engineers are already working on the design of the future power plant. However, Koiji Watanabe, president of Honda Racing Corporation, is still willing to admit some slowdown, albeit with a caveat: “We don’t think we have lost much.”

Tetsushi Kakuda, chief engineer and head of the Honda Formula 1 program, assesses the situation more realistically.

“The most difficult problem is the lack of resources,” The Race quoted him as saying. “Technically, we need to be more active in electric technologies, and we also need to find efficient solutions for the combustion engine that runs on biofuels. But we are already receiving funds in a slightly larger volume.”

At the same time, we are not primarily talking about insufficient financing, but rather about the shortage of qualified personnel related to Honda’s initial decision to leave Formula 1. However, then the Japanese company changed its mind and succumbed to the persuasion of Lawrence Stroll. co-owner of Aston Martin and its head, especially the British side will apparently largely finance this project. This is exactly what Red Bull is doing now: compensating Honda for the costs of producing and operating engines.

Accordingly, the program to create a new generation power plant for the HRC economy should no longer be as burdensome as in the earlier stages of the cooperation with Red Bull. Of course, Honda’s task is simplified by the fact that now you do not have to start from scratch: motorists have accumulated extensive experience in recent years, which is successfully applied in promising developments.

HRC specialists have already started creating a new combustion engine and bench tests of a single-cylinder prototype are already underway. Research is also being conducted into the creation of new generation batteries and the development of fully synthetic fuels.

“We can of course use our current knowledge for the developments of 2026,” emphasizes Tetsushi Kakuda. – Before this project, every time Honda stopped the Formula 1 program, they had to start everything from scratch.

But now we continue to compete in Formula 1 and a number of key specialists still work for us. So when we talk about future developments, we are in a favorable position.”

Source: F1 News

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