Red Bull to present special Honda livery for Turkish Grand Prix
The Red Bull and AlphaTauri cars will be a little different this weekend after unveiling a special Honda tribute livery. This weekend was originally supposed to be the Japanese Grand Prix before the race was canceled earlier this year.
Instead of the usual Red Bull blue, red and yellow will transform into the traditional white and red color scheme Honda used when it came to its own entry into F1. AlphaTauri cars will feature the message of a word あ り が と う (arigato) meaning “thank you” on the rear fender.
This weekend’s design is based on the Honda RA 272 that Richie Ginther drove for Honda’s first Formula 1 victory at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
John Surtees captured Honda’s victory in the 1967 Italian Grand Prix to claim a first victory with the RA300, using a similar red and white livery. Honda returned to F1 in the 2000s first as an engine supplier before becoming a full-time entry in its own right in 2006-2008.
The Japanese manufacturer has supplied engines to both teams since the 2019 season. Honda has continued to develop the powertrain despite announcing its withdrawal from Formula 1 at the end of 2021, with Red Bull preparing to resume IP from next season.
“We were all looking forward to giving the Japanese Honda fans a chance to celebrate our extremely fruitful relationship in Formula 1, on our home soil at Suzuka,” said Christian Horner, Red Bull team manager.
“With the race a victim of the pandemic, we just couldn’t let the weekend go by without paying tribute to Honda and its incredible home fans by bringing a bit of its heritage to Istanbul. The livery chosen for our cars pays homage to Honda’s remarkable track record in F1 and I hope we can offer the fans another victory in these legendary colors this weekend.
“Everyone at Honda is extremely disappointed that the Japanese Grand Prix had to be canceled, while fully understanding and accepting the reasons for this decision,” said Honda director of branding and communications operations Koji Watanabe.
“We were especially keen on racing at the Suzuka circuit as this is our last year in the sport, at a time when both of our teams are performing very well. We also like the fact that Japanese fans were especially eager to see Honda’s latest appearance here and Yuki Tsunoda driving his home race.
– Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) October 6, 2021
“We know that a special livery cannot replace what would have been a very exciting weekend, but we hope that Honda fans around the world, especially those in Japan, will accept this special livery as a small token of our appreciation for their continued support over so many years. “
Alfa Romeo was the last team to come up with a special one-off livery for the Italian Grand Prix, but McLaren’s Gulf livery for the Monaco Grand Prix in May proved to be an extremely popular design.
Most infamously, Mercedes chose to present a tribute livery in 2019 at the German Grand Prix to celebrate 125 years of motorsport competition. The weekend turned out to be disastrous, with Toto Wolff admitting he had looked away from the festivities.
He endured a miserable Sunday filled with mistakes and ended in 9th place for Lewis Hamilton and the downfall of Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull hope to avoid something similar with both championships well placed before the final races.