Fernando Alonso’s manager lifts lid on actual Honda relationship status

Henry Valantine
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso arrives at the Monaco paddock.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso arrives in the paddock.

Fernando Alonso “still respects Honda and its staff”, according to his manager Alberto Fernandez, with Alonso’s previous comments about the Japanese marque having been brought back into the limelight in recent days.

The news of Honda and Alonso’s current team, Aston Martin, announcing a works power unit partnership from the 2026 season onwards brought up questions surrounding the two-time World Champion’s feelings surrounding the last time he worked with them – infamously dubbing their then-underperforming PU a “GP2 engine” while at McLaren.

Given their previous association from 2015 to 2017, Honda figures were asked about Alonso at the announcement of their deal and whether or not they would be willing to work together again – and they did not rule out a future partnership with the Spaniard, dubbing him a “genius” driver whom they “respect highly”.

“If the team decides we’ll have Alonso as a driver again, we will have no objections whatsoever on him driving,” Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe said.

“We have been accelerating our development during our recent time in Formula 1 while working with Alonso, and that enabled us to win the World Championship.”

As for how he currently stands with Honda, Alonso’s manager referenced how quick he was to congratulate their staff members at winning the title in 2021 with Red Bull as a sign of his continued respect for them, despite the struggles he had with McLaren.

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“I never thought Fernando was a problem in terms of our relationship with Honda,” Fernandez told Japanese publication Auto Sport.

“I remember that he has said some harsh things in the past, but they were not directed only at Honda, and if there was a technical problem, he has always pointed it out to other people besides Honda.

“He still respects Honda and its staff. I think this can be seen in the fact that at the final race in Abu Dhabi in 2021, Fernando visited the Honda staff and encouraged them to ‘win the championship’.”

Alonso then briefly interrupted Auto Sport’s interview and was asked directly about staying on to work with Honda in the future, to which he replied with a smile: “My contract is expensive. My contract is very expensive.”

On that front, Fernandez elaborated that discussions have not yet started for Alonso to continue beyond the end of his current Aston Martin deal, with him signing a multi-year deal beginning in 2023 to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel.

With Honda’s arrival as a works partner, he added that it could add extra incentive for him to continue in Formula 1 longer than anticipated.

“We have not yet started negotiations with the team regarding a contract beyond 2026, but Aston Martin’s signing with Honda will certainly be a strong motivation for him to continue his career,” Fernandez concluded.