Honda has announced it will part ways with Formula One team Red Bull at the end of 2021 after three seasons of supplying the team’s engines.
The Japanese manufacturer said the decision was a result of it wanting to move away from internal combustion engines.
It leaves both Red Bull and its junior team Alpha Tauri without an engine supplier for 2022 and beyond.
Honda said it was pursuing “carbon neutrality by 2050” through “future power-unit and energy technologies, including fuel-cell vehicle and battery technologies”.
Honda president Takahiro Hachigo said it would continue with its plans for a new power-unit design for 2021 with the aim of challenging for the world championship.
It returned to Formula One in 2015 but had a difficult three years with McLaren before joining Toro Rosso, now Alpha Tauri, in 2018 and then Red Bull in 2019.
Its partnership with Red Bull has yielded 5 Grand Prix victories, but they have so far been unable to seriously compete with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton for a world title.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “The shifting focus within the automotive industry has led to Honda’s decision to re-deploy their resources and we understand and respect the reasoning behind this.
“Their decision presents obvious challenges for us as a team but we have been here before and with our strength in depth we are well prepared and equipped to respond effectively, as we have proven in the past.
“Our joint focus for the remainder of the 2020 and 2021 seasons are unchanged, to fight for victories and challenge for the championship.”
It leaves Formula One with just three engine suppliers at present: Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes. All of which will be difficult for Red Bull to agree a deal with.
Honda said the technological advancements being made in the road-car industry were “a once-in-100-years period of great transformation” as the shift toward electric vehicles quickens.
Electric-powered engines are not yet be able to provide the speed and longevity required by a Formula One car.
F1 bosses are looking at other ways of reducing carbon consumption while continuing to use the hybrid engines that combine fuel and electric power.
One option being looked at is synthetic fuels – capturing carbon from the atmosphere and therefore remaining neutral.
However, Mercedes, who have won the world championship for six consecutive seasons, have insisted that hybrid engines will be a major part of their road-car range for years to come.