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Formula 1

Red Bull to race special Honda tribute F1 livery in Turkish GP

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Red Bull will run in a special white livery at the Turkish Grand Prix as a tribute to its engine partner Honda, which will leave Formula 1 at the end of the season.

Since Red Bull entered F1 in 2005 having purchased the Jaguar team, its main cars have run almost exclusively in a variation of the same blue, red and yellow livery, incorporating the colours of the Red Bull logo.

The greatest departures have been the special launch/shakedown designs that have appeared in recent years but Red Bull has always reverted to its traditional colours for the season itself and has previously described it as ”part of our identity and our heritage”.

But it has traded its usual design for one that commemorates Honda on the weekend that should have marked the Japanese Grand Prix.

Like last year, Honda’s home race fell off the calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Turkish GP has taken its place.

It means Honda has not had the chance for a final grand prix at Suzuka since announcing the 2021 season will be its last in F1 as a competing engine manufacturer.

“For us as a team and for Honda to miss out on the Japanese GP is a shame, but it’s cool that we can do something in Turkey instead to celebrate. I’m excited to see the it and it’s really special to have the car look different for a race so I’m looking forward to that,” said Max Verstappen.

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Red Bull teased its special Honda send-off with a social media message that, in Japanese, read ”thank you” in red letters on a white background.

On Wednesday it revealed a teaser of the revised livery that Verstappen and Sergio Perez will run at Istanbul.

The team has confirmed the livery will be “predominantly white” and inspired by the legendary Honda RA 272 car, in which US racer Richie Ginther secured the company’s maiden Formula 1 win at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.

Richie Ginther 1965 Honda F1

Meanwhile, the ‘thank you’ message will be part of the AlphaTauri AT02’s colour scheme for the weekend.

“We had all been looking forward to giving Honda’s Japanese fans a chance to celebrate our extremely successful relationship in Formula 1, on home soil at Suzuka,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

“With the race falling victim to the pandemic, we just couldn’t let the weekend pass without paying tribute to Honda and its amazing home fans by bringing a little bit of its heritage to Istanbul.

“The livery chosen for our cars pays homage to Honda’s remarkable F1 journey and hopefully we can give fans another victory in those legendary colours this weekend.”

Red Bull has run special liveries in grands prix before – in honour of its Wings for Life charity or for a Star Wars promotion – and even had David Coulthard run a design that made the car look white for his final grand prix in 2008.

David Coulthard Red Bull Brazil 2008 F1

Red Bull will be the fourth big team in three seasons to introduce a special livery, after Mercedes (Germany 2019), Ferrari (Mugello 2020) and McLaren (Monaco 2021).

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