A Honda-powered team takes second in the Constructors’ World Championship for first time since 2004. In a season that saw the most podium finishes for Honda since 1991.
MARYSVILLE, Ohio (Dec. 18, 2020) – The 2020 Formula 1 World Championship was one of the most challenging in decades as the global COVID-19 pandemic delayed and then compressed a 17-race season into 23 weeks of competition.
But showing the challenging spirit inherent in Honda’s philosophy, the engine manufacturer responded with one of its most successful seasons in the last three decades. The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams put together three wins, 14 podiums, 20 top-five results and 41 points-paying finishes, with a driver lineup of Max Verstappen, Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat.
More impressively, given the extremely tight schedule, was the reliability of the Honda Power Unit (PU). The RA620H engine answered the bell with four cars at each race and Honda was the only manufacturer in the field not to receive Power Unit-related penalties this year.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the Honda F1 program for all their hard work in these difficult times, as well as all our friends at Red Bull and AlphaTauri. Their efforts are much appreciated and thanks must also go to the families that supported them, said Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe. “One of our key positives was that we learned from previous seasons, improving our reliability so that we used just the three PUs allowed per driver, taking no PU-related penalties.
Honda drivers made it to the top ten on the grid 46 times out of a possible 68, including three races where all four of them were in the top half of the grid together.
Things continued to show well for Honda once the races started. Three of the four Honda drivers earned podium finishes, including the first career win for Pierre Gasly. Each driver also earned a top-four finish and the Red Bull pairing scored enough points to finish second in the F1 manufacturers points, the highest placing for a Honda team since the Lucky Strike BAR Honda team finished in the same position in 2004.
Further season highlights included a pair of wins and a pole for Verstappen as he scored 11 podium results, the most for a Honda driver since Ayrton Senna tallied 12 top-three runs in 1991. Albon earned his first two career podiums, including being part of a double podium in Bahrain, while Kvyat put together a strong end to his year, finishing a season-best fourth at Round 13 and qualifying in the top 10 in each of the last three races.
“Overall, we had hoped to challenge for the championship title with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, but we could not match Mercedes over the year and so it’s clear we need to work very hard to improve our package,” Tanabe said. “All the same, there were some high points, such as Max winning the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and Pierre taking his first F1 win, the team’s second in our 50th race with the team at their home Grand Prix in Monza. As previously announced, at the end of next season, Honda will pull out of Formula 1. But our goal remains the same: to win the world championship. Along with our partner teams we will now be working very hard during what will be a very short off-season in the search for more performance, so that we can come back stronger."
The provisional 2021 F1 race schedule comprises 23 events, beginning March 21 in Melbourne, Australia and ending December 5 in Abu Dhabi.