Honda reserve special praise for Max Verstappen over feedback as Sergio Perez snubbed

Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out

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Honda have reserved special praise for Max Verstappen after singling out the engine feedback they received from the newly crowned F1 world champion. For the past three seasons, the Japanese company have provided engines to Red Bull, and for four years to the Toro Rosso team now known as AlphaTauri, but that deal ended this year.

In 2022, Red Bull will take care of their own power units via a new in-house operation, but Honda have bowed out in perfect fashion with Verstappen’s title win.

Despite Mercedes installing a new power unit themselves for the final four races, dubbed their ‘spicy’ engine, Verstappen prevailed following a controversial finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Both the Dutchman and teammate Sergio Perez, as well as AlphaTauri duo Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, were asked to provide feedback throughout the campaign as Honda sought to help Red Bull keep pace with Mercedes.

And their F1 CEO, Masashi Yamamoto, has now said that the communication they enjoyed with Verstappen stood out in comparison to Perez, Gasly, or rookie driver Tsunoda.

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“It is not necessary to say anything about Max’s sporting achievements, they are unprecedented for us,” Yamamoto, told Motorsport.com.

“But it’s not just about the sporting achievements, his feedback has also been very important for us. He is an extremely fast driver and the detailed feedback from someone of that calibre has accelerated our development.

“All four drivers provided valuable feedback, but especially Max.”

Verstappen, 24, was in a position of strength compared to Perez though, having become accustomed to the engine in both 2019 and 2020, while the Mexican was in his first year with the team after joining from Racing Point.

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Tsunoda also, was competing in his debut F1 season after previous experience in F2 and F3.

Perez was fourth in the drivers’ championship, a performance viewed as something of a disappointment despite him pulling out all the stops to assist Verstappen in Abu Dhabi, whilst Gasly finished ninth on 110 points and Tsunoda 14th on 32 points.

And Yanomoto said that despite Honda stepping back, they will still be offering help and support to both teams, and all four drivers, in 2022.

“We will definitely support Red Bull and AlphaTauri to perform at their best, but the relationship will be different,” he continued.

“Of course it will be a challenge, but it’s also true that Red Bull as a team would like to work in an even more integrated way.

“By producing everything in house, that is possible. That’s what we want to help them do as Honda.”

Honda, the only Asian team with and F1 drivers’ title to their name, will now turn its primary focus to working on carbon neutral technologies.

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