‘This is how I feel’ – Fernando Alonso on Honda reunion with two key factors in play

Thomas Maher
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin 2024, and McLaren 2016.

Fernando Alonso will be reunited with Honda at Aston Martin in 2026.

Fernando Alonso is set to be reunited with Honda power in 2026, having had an unhappy marriage with the Japanese manufacturer.

Alonso’s ill-fated return to McLaren in 2015 saw him powered by Honda for three seasons, but it was a far from harmonious relationship as McLaren and Honda failed to gel.

Fernando Alonso: Honda has all the tools to succeed

Given Honda currently dominates F1 with Red Bull and has achieved multiple titles and victories with the Milton Keynes-based squad, it wasn’t long before their tie-up with the reigning Champions that Honda and McLaren toiled at the back of the grid.

With neither performance nor reliability as neither team nor manufacturer brought out the best in each other, Alonso and McLaren teammates Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne frequently suffered huge grid penalties.

The performance of the Honda power unit also infamously led Alonso to exclaim “GP2 engine!” as he was overtaken for 10th place at Honda’s home Japanese Grand Prix in 2015.

This did little to endear him to the Japanese company with the public criticism, with Honda also backing out of powering Alonso’s IndyCar entry in 2020 – not helped by Alonso’s relationship with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship.

But, seven years on from the ending of Alonso’s last tie-up with Honda, the Spaniard will race with the Japanese manufacturer as they switch to power Aston Martin in an official capacity from the beginning of the new regulation cycle in 2026 as he’s signed a new long-term deal with the Silverstone-based squad.

Speaking to media, including PlanetF1.com, following the confirmation of his new deal with Aston Martin, Alonso confirmed the partnership between the team and Honda was one of the attractions that convinced him to re-sign.

Alonso also confirmed he’s spoken with senior management at Honda, and is full of praise for what they’ve achieved in recent years.

“Yeah I saw them – not in Suzuka, a few months ago,” he said.

“I have great love for Japan and the things they do there. I think the level of discipline and the level of commitment that they have is just on another level, generally in Japan, but it translates to Honda. I worked with Toyota as well in the Endurance Championship and I am very familiar with that kind of discipline.

“I think 2026, we are going into the unknown for sure in terms of regulations, but if I had to choose one, by feeling, I would choose our project and our engine and our power unit.

“One, because I think they are dominating the sport now, and they have a very strong engine for Red Bull and AlphaTauri (sic). And two, with the new fuels and the new regulations they will have all the tools available to succeed. This is how I feel.”

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Fernando Alonso: Honda’s baseline for 2026 is very strong

Asked why he’s excited about reuniting with Honda, given how working with them played out during his tenure at McLaren, he said he’s convinced the Japanese manufacturer is already off to a strong start with getting to grips with the 2026 power unit regulations as they boost the electrification aspect and introduce sustainable fuels.

“Honda is definitely a manufacturer that has so much success in Formula 1 and not [just] Formula One – in the world of motorsport that is always a company that I respected,” he said.

“A company that it didn’t work for us in McLaren, in the years that they came to the sport.

“But, right after that, they fixed all the problems and they are currently dominating the sport. They’ve been world champions for the last few years. So I think they will have a baseline for 2026 that is already very strong.

“But also they have the capacity in Sakura to build something really nice. I visited Sakura in 2014, 2015, and 2016. And I didn’t visit yet at the moment, but I know that they are really, really motivated there.

“Obviously, with the sustainable fuels that we will have in 2026, this is something that also I would love to experiment.

We have, with Aramco, a great partner.

“So yeah, I see a win-win situation and I respect a lot of the Japanese culture. We just came from Japan, special race, always a special helmet when I race in Japan, a Samurai tattoo on my back.

“So there are a lot of links always with Japan and in 2026 it is appealing and, hopefully, after the experience with McLaren-Honda and the IndyCar as well, we have now the opportunity to work again together. That for me is a true pleasure.”

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