Honda agrees Red Bull engine supply extension deal until 2021

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen
Honda joined forces with the senior Red Bull team in 2019

Honda will stay in Formula 1 at least until the end of 2021 after agreeing a one-year extension to its engine supply contract with Red Bull.

The Japanese company committed to continuing in the sport following talks between its board and Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko last week.

The company is still negotiating with Red Bull over the period after 2021.

F1 is heading into a new era in 2021 after the agreement of new technical rules aimed at making racing closer.

The announcement serves as an effective confirmation that Red Bull will continue in F1 beyond the end of 2020, when all the teams' contracts with the sport expire.

The teams are in the process of negotiating new commercial terms with F1, which are expected to see a revision of the distribution of the prize fund and a more equitable split in revenues.

Of the current top three teams, Mercedes and Ferrari have not yet formally committed to staying in the sport beyond 2020.

Honda made the announcement in low-key fashion, deciding not to put out a formal statement or media release.

The company said: "This time it is a contract extension, not a new case. Therefore, we have not made a press release."

Honda joined forces with the senior Red Bull team in 2019 and have won three races, its first since returning to the sport in 2015.

It had a difficult first three years back in F1 following its decision to return in partnership with McLaren.

The company's engines were criticised for being uncompetitive and the relationship broke down at the end of 2017.

But it became clear after Honda moved to supply Toro Rosso in 2018 that some of McLaren's lack of pace was down to the team's car.

Honda has made further progress with its power-unit since leaving McLaren and has emerged with Red Bull this season as a force at the front of the grid.

Max Verstappen won the Austrian, German and Brazilian Grands Prix, and Red Bull have become regular contenders at the front in the latter stages of this season, which ends with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

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