Teams have shown interest in Honda’s F1 engines for 2026
Honda Attracts Interest from Multiple Teams after Committing to 2026 Formula 1 Engine Rules
According to Honda, they have received interest from several teams after signing up for the 2026 Formula 1 engine regulations.
Red Bull will be teaming up with Ford to produce its own Formula 1 engine, which means that its current collaboration with Honda, a Japanese manufacturer, will come to a close by 2025.
Honda ended its official participation in Formula 1 at the end of 2021. However, the company still operates with a reduced team in Japan to assemble and provide engines for Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri.
At the end of last year, Honda expressed its interest in the upcoming engine rules cycle by registering with the FIA. This indicates that the company is engaged in continuing discussions about the rules, although it is not a firm commitment and does not obligate them to participate. Additionally, Honda has reportedly been reconsidering its decision to withdraw from Formula 1.
According to F1Lead, McLaren and Honda have had preliminary discussions over the winter, which suggests the possibility of a surprising reunion between the two companies. This is noteworthy as the two had a highly publicized falling out between 2015 and 2017.
In addition to McLaren, there have been reports of interest from other teams, including Williams, regarding a potential partnership with Honda. Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe has confirmed that multiple teams have reached out to Honda to explore potential collaborations.
During a press briefing that F1Lead attended, Honda Racing Corporation President Koji Watanabe stated that they have been contacted by numerous Formula 1 teams following their registration for the upcoming engine rules.
“At this point, we want to monitor the direction of Formula 1 and see how things develop. We are keeping a close watch on the situation,” Watanabe added, indicating that Honda is currently taking a wait-and-see approach to gauge the future of the sport before committing to any particular course of action.
At the moment, Honda has not made any definitive choices about whether they will rejoin Formula 1 or not. Their future involvement in the sport remains uncertain, and they have not made any firm decisions regarding their participation in the upcoming engine rules cycle.
Watanabe acknowledged the value of participating in Formula 1 as a means of advancing technological development. He suggested that, from this standpoint, the company sees potential benefits to being involved in the sport.
Honda withdrew from Formula 1 in order to shift its focus towards carbon neutrality projects and to bolster its automotive business, which had fallen behind its competitors. The company sought to prioritize sustainable energy solutions and environmental initiatives, as well as strengthening its core business operations.
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The upcoming Formula 1 regulations for 2026 seem to align with Honda’s goals, as they specify that the hybrid engines will run exclusively on sustainable and synthetic fuels, while also calling for a significant increase in electrical power output from the energy recovery systems. This could make Formula 1 a more appealing platform for Honda, given their focus on sustainable energy solutions.
Watanabe noted that Formula 1 is undergoing a significant shift towards electrification. This suggests that Honda’s experience and expertise in electric and hybrid technologies could be valuable in the context of Formula 1, making it a more viable option for the company.
Watanabe emphasized that achieving carbon neutrality is a priority for Honda as a corporation, and that the direction in which Formula 1 is heading appears to be consistent with that goal. This further supports the notion that Formula 1 could be a good fit for Honda’s objectives in the long run.
Watanabe explained that Honda’s decision to register as a power unit manufacturer for the upcoming Formula 1 engine rules cycle is rooted in their perception of the sport’s future alignment with their corporate objectives. It suggests that they are seriously considering the possibility of returning to Formula 1, but it does not confirm their participation.
As a leading motorsport category, Formula 1’s trajectory and evolving focus on electrification are of interest to Honda. Watanabe suggested that the company is curious about the direction in which the sport is heading, particularly in light of the increasing emphasis on electric technologies. This indicates that Honda is actively monitoring developments in Formula 1, and is considering the possibility of a future involvement in the sport.
Watanabe emphasized that Honda intends to continue closely monitoring developments in Formula 1, indicating that the company is taking a cautious approach and is not yet committed to any particular course of action. This suggests that they are gathering information and assessing their options before making any firm decisions about their future involvement in the sport.
One challenge that a potential Honda 2026 project may face is the need to make a decision relatively soon in order to have enough time to prepare for the upcoming engine regulations. If Honda were to commit to Formula 1 for 2026, they would need to begin work on developing a new engine relatively soon to be ready in time for the start of the season. This may require a significant investment of resources and effort from the company, which could impact their ability to pursue other initiatives.
Honda’s Formula 1 operations have been downsized in Japan, with many engineers reassigned to work on zero-emissions projects. In addition, as part of the 2022-2025 deal, certain parts of the company have been transferred to Red Bull Powertrains, including the battery assembly facility that Honda had in the UK. These moves suggest that Honda’s current focus is on sustainable energy solutions and other priorities, rather than Formula 1.
In response to a question from F1Lead about whether Honda would need to increase its resources to support a return to Formula 1, Tetsushi Kakuda, the chief engineer and F1 project leader at Honda, suggested that the company’s current facilities in Sakura may not be sufficient to handle the needs of a larger-scale project. He implied that the current setup is tailored to support the current arrangement with Red Bull, which is more limited in scope than a full-fledged Honda engine program.
According to Kakuda, while Honda has reorganized its resources, they have the personnel required to support the power units for Red Bull in Sakura. He suggested that, at present, the company has the necessary manpower to fulfill their obligations to Red Bull but did not comment on whether they would be able to scale up their efforts to support additional teams or expand their Formula 1 operations in the future.
Kakuda stated that if any technical developments were to arise, the current team at Honda would be responsible for handling them. This suggests that Honda is currently equipped to support the existing engine program for Red Bull but may not have the resources necessary to expand their operations or support additional projects in the near term.
Teams interest Honda F1 Teams interest Honda F1 Teams interest Honda F1 Teams interest Honda F1
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