The Red Bull Racing team will pay tribute to its engine supplier, Honda, on what would have been its final home Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit had Covid-19 not intervened.
At what will now be the Turkish Grand Prix the race design takes a cue from Japan’s traditional national racing colour; the background to the Red Bull livery is now white with the usual scarlet Red Bull branding, yellow airbox and blue rear wing. In a nod to the Nipponic flag Max Vertsappen and Sergio Perez’s driver numbers will be placed in a red circle and the word ‘arigato’ or ‘thank you’ written in Japanese just aft of the cockpit.
The 2021 season marks the end of Honda’s seven-year stint as an engine supplier having returned in 2015 with McLaren. Its relationship with the British team was strained, coming to an end in 2017, whereupon the firm switched to Toro Rosso the following year and Red Bull in 2019.
Red Bull will be taking over powerplant development and engineering from Honda for the 2022 season. Verstappen goes into the race chasing an eighth win to regain the championship lead from Lewis Hamilton.