Official: Honda to power Aston Martin’s Formula 1 team from 2026

2026 F1 season

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Honda has confirmed it will return to Formula 1 in 2026 as power unit manufacturer, supplying engines to current Mercedes customer Aston Martin.

Although Honda officially left F1 at the end of 2021 and ended development for the current 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 formula after winning the world championship with Red Bull that year, it still manufacturers parts for Red Bull and AlphaTauri whose powertrains are labelled as ‘Honda RBPT’.

In February the FIA confirmed Honda was one of six power unit manufacturers which had signed up to supply motors under the incoming rules. But with Red Bull forming a new alliance with Ford when the revised regulations arrive, Honda needed a new chassis partner to avoid being left out.

Honda’s Global CEO Toshihiro Mibe confirmed the brand’s decision to team up with Aston Martin at a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. He said the changes ushered in through the new regulations were behind its decision to recommit to F1.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2021
Honda powered Verstappen to his 2021 title win
“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,” said Mibe.

F1 will mandate the use of carbon-neutral fuel from 2026 and engine efficiency will need to increase so no more than 70kg of petrol is consumed in a race – a reduction from the current maximum of 110kg. The energy deployment capability of the MGU-K will increase from 120kW to 350kW, while the MGU-H is being dropped. A cost cap for power unit providers will also be introduced.

“With the new 2026 regulations, the key for winning will be a compact, lightweight, and high-power electric motor with a high-performance battery capable of handling high and swift power output, as well as the energy management technology,” Mibe continued. “We believe that the technologies and know-how gained from this new challenge can potentially be applied directly to our future mass production electric vehicles.”

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Aston Martin “share the same sincere attitude and determination to win” as Honda, said Mibe.

“Honda has the utmost respect for the FIA, which made a bold decision to introduce these new and challenging regulations to ensure the sustainability of both racing activities and the global environment, and for the Formula One Group, which has been enhancing the brand value of F1 and ensuring F1’s evolvement as the most prestigious automobile racing in the world,” he added.

Aston Martin made a leap forward at the start of 2023
The Silverstone-based Aston Martin team is currently enjoying their most successful season since 1999, when they were known as Jordan, having taken four podium finishes from the first five grands prix. They lie second in the constructors’ standings.

Aston Martin CEO Lawrence Stroll called the team’s tie-up with Honda “the final piece in the jigsaw to establish Aston Martin Formula 1 as a top team capable of winning world titles.”

“Combined with our new campus, we are giving the team all the tools it needs to win,” he said. “To establish Aston Martin Formula 1 at the top of the sport we need to exploit every single area of our technical package and now a bespoke PU is the most important last step in that journey.”

Aston Martin Performance Technologies Group CEO Aston Martin – who worked with Honda at McLaren in the eighties and nineties, then helped bring about their previous return in 2015 – said the development was an important step for the team.

“Over the last 18 months I think we’ve been recruiting the right people, we’ve been investing in the required facilities and developing the right culture and processes to win,” Whitmarsh told media including RaceFans yesterday.

“We know, however, that we need strong partnerships, and we’ve been previously delighted to have been joined by both [IT firm] Cognizant and [fuel supplier] Aramco on this mission. But I think today in particular, it’s a great opportunity to partner a global motorsport titan like Honda as a works team. This is an extremely exciting and important further step for the team.”

Whitmarsh believes F1’s new 2026 regulations will increase the importance of integration between chassis and power unit, making a works engine supply crucial to their future success.

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“We’re very proud, very honoured, very grateful to put in place this partnership,” he continued. “It’s clear to us and I think to Honda that the 2026 F1 regulations will require the sort of full integration of chassis and PU that only a full works team relationship delivers,” added Whitmarsh.

2026 F1 entries

Red BullRed Bull-Ford
Aston MartinHonda
AlphaTauriRed Bull-Ford

“So to have this partnership puts us in a position to compete for championships. I think it’s very clear from everything that we’ve seen of Honda in the past, from our recent learnings from being in conversation over the last few weeks, they have a huge passion, they’re racers, they want to win.”

Honda engines have started more races in F1 than those of any manufacturer bar Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Ford up until the end of its last period as a manufacturer in 2021. It won races as a full works team in the sixties, then dominated F1 as an engine supplier to Williams and McLaren in the eighties and nineties. Its return with a factory team in the noughties was less successful – although it won one race, the team slumped soon afterwards and was sold on at the end of 2008. Seven years later, Honda returned as an engine supplier once more.

Whitmarsh said Aston Martin have “got a lot to learn from Honda, who have been successful over many, many decades in the sport. But I think we’re already confident this is going to be a fantastic partnership for the future. So we look forward to it.”

Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe said the manufacturer is relishing the prospect of going up against five of its rivals in F1. “We believe that the technology and knowhow gained from this new challenge has the potential to be applied directly to our future mass production electric vehicles,” he said.

“Also, F1 is introducing a cost cap structure on power unit development, which will make a long-term and continuous participation in F1 easier. In fact, starting in the 2026 season, various automakers are planning to enter F1, which we expect will further intensify the competition.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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35 comments on “Official: Honda to power Aston Martin’s Formula 1 team from 2026”

  1. Good news for all involved. Pretty much a no-brainer decision. I had called it back in February

    1. notagrumpyfan
      24th May 2023, 7:01

      What do you call someone who calls a ‘no-brainer’? ;)

    2. You’re a time traveller :) Nice catch though.

    3. Well done! You are so much better at predicting important things than anyone else here.

      How long until Alonso sours this relationship again with his attitude?

      1. I wonder how sour AM is on Alonso’s 4 of 5 podiums this season. :)

    4. I see some people are mocking your prediction. But I made the same prediction at the start of the season too. It’s pretty logical.

      There was only 3 teams that could realistically join up with Honda for 2026. Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams. Williams seem still tied to Mercedes for now but could adopt a new engine down the line. McLaren seem unlikely after the last team up went so badly and Zak was at Red Bull touring their Power Trains facility.. So it only left Aston Martin and with the ambition and investment Stroll was putting into the team, it made perfect sense.

      Add that to the fact a few key Red Bull guys have moved over to Aston Martin, there will be some familiarity with working with Honda and I’m sure the likes of Dan Fallows would have been eager to land Honda as engine partner.

  2. No surprise but a good match none the less. Honda will be kicking themselves for losing Red Bull. Aston Martin is their best option. McLaren aren’t really showing much potential nor are Haas or Williams. Bit of a no brainer.

    Good to have Honda officially back. Hope this spell lasts a bit longer!

    1. @antznz

      They’ve dropped the ball with their indecisiveness plenty of times. In 2008, they dropped their team out, just for it to win the WDC and WCC in 2009. They dropped out in 2021, just for Red Bull to become a dominant force in 2022 and 2023. Every time they come back, they’re usually disastrous before they find their footing again. I expect the same in 2026. Aston need a works engine deal, but Honda in 2026 is not going to deliver any results for them.

      1. Mark in Florida
        24th May 2023, 14:27

        @todfod Exactly. I’ve commented on this same aspect of Honda. They leave only for others to get the credit because they didn’t stick it out. Can’t wait for Alonso to say “This engine runs like a golf cart”. If it doesn’t do well out of the gate. Honda will have had plenty of time to develop the new motor for 26. No excuses.

    2. Honda will be kicking themselves for losing Red Bull.

      Not necessarily.
      Remember how Red Bull treated Renault when they stopped winning? Their current dominance won’t last forever…
      It may well be better to lose with a weaker team than with a stronger one – especially one known for such overt media manipulation and external blame culture. Honda may simply be dodging a marketing bullet.

      On the other hand, Honda well be a source of improvement for their new team partner, no longer held back by their customer-team arrangements – if they get some podiums and wins together, that’s good image.
      Especially if the package turns out better than the ‘Ford’….

      1. Claiming that Honda will have better PR with potentially Alonso as one of their drivers is certainly a bold claim

        1. I didn’t say anything about Alonso, mainly because I don’t expect him to be there in 2026.

  3. Jordan and Mugen finally back together

    1. Because it ended so well last time…

      1. Well, I think the jordan 1999 had the honda engine and it was the best season ever for jordan, they got close to championship contention.

  4. … just so they can leave again in 2027 when they have a winning package…

    1. The Honda sweet spot.

  5. Interesting & unsurprising since the rumors for a little while.
    Perhaps Mclaren & or Williams also switches to Honda for 2026.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      24th May 2023, 7:14

      I was still hoping for Porsche to join.
      But who to pick?
      Williams seems to have sold and restructured away all that links them to previous successes.
      McLaren has become the ‘influencer’ amongst the racing teams; only interested in promotional gimmicks.
      And Haas still thinks F1 is merely a spec series where others develop the chassis.

  6. Good news for AM and overall F1 and bad news for RB.
    AM will have a solid base and stability with the Japanese who learned their lesson of how they need to work to bring results in their previous bad years in F1 with RB.

    In the life of me i dont get how Ford will help RB to go forward? they are nowhere as official Ford with F1 and when we had Ford in the old days, it was a ready engine when Ford bought it in 1998 and just tried to improve it.

    RB thinks that they know how to make an engine.. i say GL with that.. they don’t even know what treatment Honda is doing in the Pistons that makes them last so long in comparison to all the other engine manufacturers in F1.

    1. Red Bull has all the facilities and all the experienced staff to build a proper F1 engine. Red Bull doesn’t “think” they can build an engine, they have spend the money to build an engine. Ford is there, mostly in name only, to lend some expertise to the more than capable staff at Red Bull.

      Does that mean they are guaranteed to build a good engine? Sure, no, but there was no guarantee Honda was going to either (and they didn’t, for three full years). But there’s no reason to assume that with all the money they invested and staff they recruited that they’d be incapable of building an engine that’s just as capable as any of the other manufacturers.

      1. @sjaakfoo
        You can’t compare a small building with a bunch of ex-Mercedes engineers, RB Powertrains, to the stratospheric resources and know-how of a company of the scale of Honda. The only reason that RB Powertrains came to existence is because RBR lobbied successfully for the simplification of the current V6 Turbo architecture. RBR themselves said they cannot develop a the current F1 PU especially with the MGU-H. You also have to consider that the ICE has been marginalized to make it more easier to develop for the new manufacturers.

    2. Seems they want to use Ford for the electrical side only, not a whole engine. This in preparation for the rule changes in 2026, where there would be much more attention for electrics.

      1. That came out wrong. They do want to partner up with Ford for the engine, but the electric component of the engine is much more important, and they feel Ford is pretty far up the road with that.

    3. In the life of me i dont get how Ford will help RB to go forward?

      As Horner said when they announced their partnership, it’s mostly about Ford’s knowledge of EVs: “we’ll be able to draw from their expertise. Ford’s invested billions and billions in the whole EV sector, with batteries, automation, software, and more.”

      With the ICE becoming so tightly regulated as to be almost a spec part, this is a key area in which Red Bull needed help. Neither they nor anyone else operating at that level needs much help putting together a 2026-spec ICE.

  7. Aston Martin Performance Technologies Group CEO Aston Martin – who worked with Honda at McLaren in the eighties and nineties..

    For a microsecond I was wondering if there was actually a guy named Aston Martin working for the team. Then the penny dropped. Martin, but another Martin. First name, not last.

  8. It feels like everone is preparing for 2026, and everyone in the paddock is resigned to seeing redbull win for the next 3 years. Honda has it good with the timing of the engine freeze…

    1. That freeze will be dropped if the FIA decide it’s a way to hurt Red Bull’s dominance.

  9. Look at Liberty Media killing F1 over here with more engine manufacturers in the sport at one time than we’ve seen since, what, 2008?

    1. I get the argument being made @sjaakfoo, but it seems like the main thing bringing manufacturers back to F1 is the new-for-2026 technical regulations, which are in the FIA’s remit, rather than anything being done by Liberty.

    2. Liberty doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the engine regulations; it’s mostly the FIA finally – years too late – recognizing that the 2014 regulations were really bad and failed at doing the one thing the FIA always wants more than anything else: get more people involved. It’s a political organisation, after all. In this case that means manufacturers. Having more manufacturers involved gives credibility to the series, and by extension to the FIA as a global body, and thereby to the FIA’s many non-sporting programs.

  10. Will this stand if /when Geely buys the rest of AM?

  11. This is a huuuuuuge coup for Aston Martin.

    Good luck to them.

    1. It is, and it’s great to see Aston Martin being serious about their F1 effort.

      A team needs its own engine partner if it’s going to be competitive. Ron Dennis wasn’t wrong about that.

  12. Not only a “Ford” motor, wonder if Adrian Newey will still be on the RB team in 2026?
    Could be a suspect power unit and/or aero chief then for RB. Things change at times…

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