Engine Revival: Honda F1 Eyes Aston Martin for 2026 Project
In a dramatic twist of events, Honda F1 seems poised to make a thrilling comeback to Formula 1 in 2026, potentially joining forces with the Aston Martin team. Despite formally withdrawing from F1 in 2021, Honda’s passion for the sport hasn’t diminished.
It appears increasingly probable that Honda will undertake a new Formula 1 engine project in 2026, collaborating with the Aston Martin team. Despite officially leaving F1 at the close of 2021, the Japanese manufacturer continues to work with Red Bull’s two F1 teams and provides them with engines until 2025’s end.
Honda seems to be gradually overturning its decision to withdraw by contemplating a comprehensive return to F1 in 2026, coinciding with the introduction of new engine regulations. It displayed interest in the new rules with the FIA late last year and received propositions from several teams for a works arrangement.
The need for a new collaborator was certain for any upcoming Honda project as it became apparent that Red Bull was partnering with Ford for a new in-house F1 engine in 2026. It has been suggested by several sources to F1Lead that Honda will commit to the new rules and Aston Martin, currently a client of Mercedes engines, is likely to be their partner.
Honda found itself in need of a new collaborator due to the unexpected turn of events triggered by its initial decision to withdraw from F1, which led Red Bull on a distinct course of action.
In 2020, Honda’s CEO at the time, Takahiro Hachigo, declared that the company would officially depart from F1 by the end of 2021 to focus on developing zero-emission technology for its auto sector, which had been lagging behind competitors. This decision happened to coincide with the strengthening Red Bull-Honda partnership, which ultimately resulted in winning the drivers’ world championship in 2021.
Concurrently, Red Bull and Honda arranged for Honda to continue its engine supply until the conclusion of 2025, albeit in a more detached role. However, it became apparent that Honda, under the new leadership of Toshihiro Mibe since April 2021, was reconsidering its exit from F1. This reevaluation appeared fruitful as Honda, alongside Red Bull, triumphed in both world championships in 2022.
Honda has maintained its presence at technical committee meetings discussing the 2026 engine regulations and has also retained a small team to work on these rules. The F1 regulations around sustainable fuels and increased electric output, which will see a more powerful MGU-K compensate for the eliminated MGU-H, appear to align with Honda’s broader corporate objectives.
While there’s some discrepancy over whether Honda’s board has made a definitive decision, the likelihood of approval for a 2026 project seems to be on the rise.
Once Honda’s interest in making a formal return became evident, Red Bull and Honda did explore the possibility of extending their partnership into 2026. However, despite their strong existing relationship, the establishment of Red Bull Powertrains significantly altered the conditions under which any agreement would operate.
Red Bull Powertrains was created in anticipation of Honda’s full withdrawal, finally allowing Red Bull to control its engine supply after being reliant on manufacturers throughout its history.
From 2026, Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri will switch to Red Bull Ford-branded engines, as the American manufacturer has been enticed into a mostly commercial partnership, with some technical involvement suggested.
The agreement with Red Bull and Ford gained momentum in late 2022, compelling Honda to engage in discussions with other potential partners. Both McLaren and Williams were considered as alternatives, and McLaren even reached out during the winter.
Nonetheless, it’s anticipated that Aston Martin will be the company that teams up with Honda. Aston Martin has clearly shown an interest in a works engine supply, having tentatively looked into creating its own power unit, similar to Red Bull Powertrains.
Once that option was deemed unfeasible, Aston Martin evaluated its other choices, with Honda emerging as the only viable path to a works engine agreement.
Every other manufacturer registered for 2026 intends to have its own team, and even though General Motors has shown some interest in becoming a potential future participant, this would also be with a works entry.
A deal with Honda would reunite ‘Team Silverstone’ with the manufacturer, reviving a partnership that last occurred in the early 2000s. It would also recall the team’s peak years in 1998 and 1999, when they used Mugen-Honda engines.
The connection to Honda is also present at the pinnacle of the team’s modern incarnation, represented by Aston Martin Performance Technologies CEO Martin Whitmarsh. He orchestrated the McLaren-Honda partnership that began in 2015, and he left McLaren before that alliance disintegrated, suggesting that his relationship with Honda likely remains positive.
However, it’s uncertain whether this is also true for current Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso, who was with McLaren during that unfortunate three-year period. Alonso upset Honda significantly with his continuous criticisms, even going as far as to label its product a “GP2 engine” during Honda’s home race in Japan in 2015.
Nevertheless, given that Alonso, now 41, may not still be competing for Aston Martin by 2026, his relationship with Honda might not factor into the equation.
Honda F1 2026 Project Aston Martin Team Honda F1 2026 Project Aston Martin Team Honda F1 2026 Project Aston Martin Team Honda F1 2026 Project Aston Martin Team Honda F1 2026 Project Aston Martin Team Honda F1 2026 Project Aston Martin Team
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