Honda considering IndyCar exit after 2026

Japanese manufacturer concerned about rapidly accelerating costs in series.
  • Only Honda and Chevrolet supply engines in IndyCar
  • Introduction of hybrid engines hopes to attract third manufacturer

Honda is considering an IndyCar exit after its engine supply contract expires in 2026.

The Japanese manufacturer is concerned about rapidly accelerating costs in the series.

“We have great concerns over the costs,” Chuck Schifsky, motorsports manager for American Honda, told Racer.

“If we were to choose not to renew, that would be the reason why. And it’s easy to see. We don’t have a third manufacturer, and there’s a reason for that.

“It has to do with the cost. If the return on investment matched up with the investment, we’d have a number of other manufacturers involved.”

The brand has been involved in IndyCar since 1994, but the lack of engine innovation has seen the series stagnate, with Chevrolet the only other engine manufacturer involved. Plans to introduce a new hybrid engine at the start of the 2024 season have been delayed.

“We’re looking for a wholesale change to the engine regulations so that we can eliminate fives and tens of millions of dollars of annual technical costs,” Schifsky said.

“Because if we don’t, then it’s too much money, and we will go do something else. That something else could be Nascar, or a further investment in our Formula One effort. Or something that isn’t motorsports at all.”

If the move to hybrid engines is successful, then splitting the IndyCar grid with Chevrolet and a third manufacturer would make for far more manageable costs.

“Yes, it would change our outlook quite a bit,” Schifsky said. “If you imagine we’re now supplying 15 or 16 or 17 cars, if that drops down to say nine or ten, that will definitely reduce our costs and improve the return.”

With IndyCar’s engine suppliers under contract until 2026, there is no rush for Honda to make a decision, but it has begun weighing up the positives and negatives for staying.

“We still have about a year to make a decision on what to do,” Schifsky said. “And it should not be considered by anybody that Honda will automatically stay in just because we’ve been in it for 30 years.

“Of course, it shouldn’t necessarily be assumed that we’re going to get out. We love this series.”

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