Aston Martin’s Potential Power Shift: Honda
In a daring move that could redefine the landscape of Formula 1, Aston Martin is eyeing a potential collaboration with Honda for a project starting in 2026. A declaration of ambition, this strategic maneuver could signal a seismic shift in partnerships, with their existing alliance with Mercedes drawing to a close by the end of 2025.
If Aston Martin decides to collaborate with Honda on a Formula 1 project that is set to kick off in 2026 – a move that appears increasingly plausible – it would be a significant declaration of their ambition.
Aston Martin’s partnership with Mercedes is set to expire at the end of 2025, and it was always foreseeable that the team would explore other possibilities in light of the upcoming new regulations.
Aston Martin holds grand plans as part of a long-term strategy aimed at becoming a championship-contending team. This includes the construction of a new factory and windtunnel, both of which are about to become operational – the factory in the near future and the windtunnel by the third quarter of 2024.
This leaves enough room for refinement in preparation for the 2026 car to fully capitalize on these resources. Naturally, partnering with an engine manufacturer is a crucial aspect of this plan. Hence, Aston Martin has considered a dedicated engine deal for some time now, even contemplating a standalone project similar to Red Bull Powertrains.
But why choose Honda? The two companies have an existing relationship from their time in F1. There was a brief period when Honda supplied engines to Red Bull Racing in 2019 and 2020, during which Aston Martin, under its former ownership, was the title sponsor for the team.
Furthermore, Honda and Team Silverstone have a substantial shared history. The team’s most successful seasons in its Jordan days were in 1998 and 1999, powered by Mugen-Honda engines, which later led to an official engine supply.
But this potential arrangement goes beyond nostalgia – it represents immense potential benefits for both parties.
Currently, Aston Martin is outperforming its engine supplier Mercedes, ranking second in the world championship after making significant improvements during the winter break.
Aston Martin continues to voice its contentment with its ongoing Mercedes partnership, which extends beyond the engine to include the Mercedes gearbox and rear suspension. These components would need to be developed in-house if a separate engine deal was to be pursued.
Aston Martin’s technical director, Dan Fallows, expressed confidence in their relationship with Mercedes last week in Miami, saying, “I don’t think that anything that we get from Mercedes is limiting our performance,” and “Does any of that stop us achieving the goals that we want to achieve? No, absolutely not. So, I think we are very happy with the relationship.”
Fallows also mentioned, “We’re working closely with a power unit partner that we’re currently very content with, and we’re highly satisfied with this relationship.”
However, Aston Martin still lags considerably behind Red Bull. The prevalent opinion within F1 circles is that to win a championship in the current climate, a team must secure a works engine deal due to the comprehensive advantages it provides in optimizing the entire car package.
Honda seems to be the only viable path to attain this. All other manufacturers committed to 2026 already have their own teams lined up. Although General Motors appears to be a potential future contender, it would also likely enter with its own works team.
At face value, Aston Martin seems to be positioning itself alongside an engine manufacturer that has been a crucial component of a dominating F1 entity. Honda engines are already on track to clinch another double title this year.
As for Honda, its self-imposed parting with Red Bull at the close of 2025 necessitates backing a team with the potential to match the high standard Honda currently upholds. This leaves Honda with limited choices, with Aston Martin emerging as the most promising candidate.
However, a 2026 Honda engine will not be a ready-to-use project. Honda will need to rejuvenate its operations in Sakura, having downsized since its official departure at the end of 2021, providing only the bare minimum required to meet its obligations to Red Bull.
There are also logistical factors to take into account in both Japan and Europe, given that Honda’s former UK facility now forms part of Red Bull Powertrains. Nevertheless, there is ample time for Honda to make necessary adjustments, especially since it remains an active manufacturer in F1.
The extent of cooperation between Aston Martin, its partners like Aramco, and Honda on the engine project remains uncertain. The efficiency of this collaboration will be crucial. While Red Bull managed to make their Honda partnership work, McLaren’s prior attempt ended unsuccessfully, indicating that a smooth working relationship is not guaranteed.
The stakes are high for both parties, and there will be no shortage of determination to make it a success. Their respective commitments in terms of resources in recent years are also unquestionable.
Not long ago, Honda was investing hundreds of millions annually to transform its F1 project into a success. Similarly, Aston Martin’s investment in Team Silverstone has, at times, echoed a ‘spare no expense’ approach.
While this may not guarantee success for any future collaboration, both parties are currently enjoying the benefits of their respective endeavors.
Preserving this success for 2026 and beyond carries such significant potential advantages that it’s easy to understand the allure of this potential partnership.
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