After the 2025 season, there's a slim chance the Japanese brand will return to F1.
In October 2020, Honda announced that it would no longer supply engines for any Formula 1 team. That includes its most notable customer, Red Bull. While Honda was able to quit Formula 1 on a high note, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen's 2021 win in Abu Dhabi, it is now officially out of the sport. However, Honda engines still motivate much more than the Civic Type R.
Honda-branded engines still power both Red Bull cars and its sister team, AlphaTauri. Additionally, Honda currently provides what it calls "technical support for Red Bull Powertrains (RBPT)." Initially, this was supposed to end in 2023. However, Honda has just announced that it will continue to provide technical support for its F1 customers until 2025.
Despite this arrangement, Honda still reiterates it is not in Formula 1. "Honda officially ended its participation in Formula 1 at the end of 2021, with the resources allocated to power unit development diverted to meet the company's future carbon-neutral goals," the company said in a statement. Earlier statements made by Honda's F1 boss Masashi Yamamoto makes it seem highly unlikely it will ever return to the sport.
New regulations (and new competitors in the form of Porsche and Audi) will make an appearance in 2026, including huge power unit (PU) provider changes. Audi will slowly start taking over the Alfa Romeo team next year, and will eventually own 75% by 2026. By then, it will be the sole powertrain provider. Porsche is set to buy a 50% stake in Red Bull, and by 2026 it will provide its power units.
By 2026, there will likely be five powertrain providers: Audi, Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes, and Renault. Teams with less budget tend to buy powertrains from these providers. Alfa Romeo and Haas are currently powered by Ferrari, while Williams, McLaren, and Aston Martin buy powertrains from Mercedes-Benz.
"Red Bull's partnership with Honda has been an incredibly successful one and we are pleased that this will continue until the end of the current era of the FIA's power unit regulations in 2025."
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner is of course very aware that Honda's support ends when the current power unit regulations do, saying "Red Bull's partnership with Honda has been an incredibly successful one and we are pleased that this will continue until the end of the current era of the FIA's power unit regulations in 2025."
For now, Red Bull's eye is on the prize for 2022, with Red Bull Racing's Dr. Helmut Marko saying, "we thank Honda for their positive response to working together. We are excited to continue our partnership in F1 until the end of 2025 with the PU supplied by Honda. We have had a successful relationship so far, winning the Drivers' championship in 2021 and currently leading the Drivers' and Teams' classifications, with the aim of securing both 2022 titles."