In 2026, Honda will return to F1 as a full-time supplier, this time to Aston Martin's works power unit. After seven years in the sport, including a World Championship for drivers thanks to Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Honda pulled out of F1 at the conclusion of 2021. Winning both titles in 2022 solidified their partnership with Red Bull, which will extend until the end of 2025 thanks to a power unit support contract. Honda has decided to return to F1 alongside the emerging Aston Martin team, specifically targeting the 2026 rules due to their increased emphasis on sustainable technology and seeing evidence of their effectiveness via the current Red Bull vehicles. The obligation to utilise 100% sustainable fuels and the increased emphasis on electrical power was appealing to Honda when F1 published its revised engine rules for 2026.
Honda’s Recent History and 2026 Comeback
Honda quickly investigated other alternatives when Red Bull signed a branding contract with Ford in 2026, and ultimately settled on the possibility of the British racing team. Partnering with the Silverstone-based squad since 2009, Mercedes will continue to provide Aston Martin with power units, as well as the gearbox and rear suspension, until the year 2025.
The recent history of Honda in Formula One, with its indecisive partnership with Red Bull, is puzzling. However, Red Bull Powertrains uses Honda engines that seem to be certain to win three straight championships. However, the Japanese manufacturer is notorious for making hasty, impulsive choices in its participation, such as the one that led to its withdrawal at the end of 2021.
Aston Martin is taking a risk by providing the squad with financial backing for the first time. Not based on Honda's track record; there have been better choices in recent years. But it means breaking the client arrangement it had with Mercedes, which has been a key component of the company's success so far this year.
By agreeing to work with Honda to develop and produce its own gearbox and rear suspension, Aston Martin reveals why it believed the Mercedes relationship could last for no more than 2025.
Honda and Aston Martin 2026 Deal: Reaction
Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe said, "One of the key reasons for our decision to take up the new challenge in F1 is that the world’s pinnacle form of racing is striving to become a sustainable racing series, which is in line with the direction Honda is aiming toward carbon neutrality, and it will become a platform which will facilitate the development of our electrification technologies."
Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin owner said: “We share a mutual drive, determination, and relentless ambition to succeed on track. Honda is a global titan and its success in motorsport is longstanding and incredibly impressive.”
Group CEO of Aston Martin, Martin Whitmarsh said: “The new 2026 F1 power unit regulations are a huge and important change, but one which we are confident we can navigate successfully together. Jointly with our strategic partner Aramco, we can look forward to open collaboration towards a common goal."