Honda will be leaving Formula 1 at the end of the season after a seven-year stint in the series collaborating with McLaren, Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
Red Bull has the chance to give Honda a farewell championship as it competes for the constructors’ title with Mercedes and sees Verstappen in the middle of the battle for the driver’s crown.
Honda worked to carry over a number of its engine developments originally planned for the 2022 season to the 2021 design and to move forward with upgrades to support its customer teams.
The final step forward came last month at the Belgian Grand Prix, when years of development led to the introduction of a new energy storage device that debuted on Verstappen’s car. According to the current regulations, each engine component can be upgraded once per season.
Honda announced on Wednesday ahead of the Russian Grand Prix that the new energy storage system had been introduced two races ago at Spa.
“This new energy storage device was developed in a multi-year project with the aim of combining improvements in energy efficiency with significant weight savings,” said Honda’s head of drive development, Yasuaki Asaki.
âIn the company’s last season in this sport, Honda F1 succeeded in getting the new ES – equipped with a lighter, low-resistance, highly efficient and extremely powerful battery cell – right on time for the start of the second half of the season.
âIn order to achieve the ultimate goal of defeating Mercedes and winning the championship before leaving Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season, we recognized the need to improve performance.
“This means that the development plan for the new energy storage system has been brought forward significantly from the original target of 2022 to its introduction in the 2021 season.”
Verstappen used the updated energy storage system to take pole position in Spa when it was wet, before being crowned the winner of the two-lap race after heavy rain. Verstappen also started from pole at Monza before a collision with Hamilton forced him to retire.
Honda said the introduction of the new energy storage device this year was a “massive undertaking” due to the long lead times for the part design, which was fully supported by the Honda road battery development team.
“Even after Honda leaves Formula 1, this new battery technology will make a huge contribution to Honda’s future technology to create a climate-neutral society, drive mobility and enable people around the world to improve their daily lives,” said Asaki.
Red Bull will take over Honda’s IP Power Unit at the end of the year and act as its own supplier from 2022 and form its own Red Bull Powertrains Division.