Honda edging closer to F1 return with new partner team – report

Michelle Foster
The McLaren and Honda logos. Silverstone, July 2015.

The McLaren and Honda logos. Silverstone, July 2015.

Aston Martin will reportedly have a new engine partner in 2026, the Silverstone-based team closing in on a deal to become Honda’s new works team.

Returning to Formula 1 with a stint with McLaren before moving onto AlphaTauri and then also Red Bull, Honda won the Drivers’ Championship with Max Verstappen in 2021 – but that was supposed to be their final year on the grid with the company announcing at the beginning of the season they were withdrawing from the sport.

What followed was a mini U-turn, Honda staying on to help Red Bull run the engines under the Red Bull Powertrains division without actually being a manufacturer on the grid. That deal was for one year, 2022, only to be extended through to the end of 2025, the last season under the current regulations.

But intrigued by Formula 1’s next step with the power units, Honda promptly registered its intent with the FIA to be a 2026 manufacturer – but tentatively as they still wanted to give it some consideration.

It seems they’ve now decided, and it’s good news for Aston Martin. recommends

Adrian Newey received Mercedes phone call in attempt to sign him – report

The updated Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship standings

According to The Race, “multiple sources have indicated Honda will commit to the new regulations after all, with Aston Martin – currently a Mercedes engine customer – tipped to be its partner.”

Honda’s options for 2026 include less than half the grid as Red Bull and AlphaTauri have already entered a partnership with Ford for 2026 with the American manufacturer coming on board to help Red Bull Powertrains with the new generation of power units.

With the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Alpine all works teams and Sauber set to become Audi, that leaves McLaren, Haas, Williams and Aston Martin.

“The expectation,” writes Scott Mitchell-Malm, “is that it will be Aston Martin that Honda works with.

“Aston Martin has made its interest in a works engine supply clear, having even tentatively explored its own power unit in the style of Red Bull Powertrains.

“When that was determined to be unviable, Aston Martin considered its alternatives. And Honda was the only route to a works engine deal.”

Aston Martin, under its previous monikers of Force India and Racing Point, have been using Mercedes engines since 2009.

That deal was extended to include gearbox and suspensions with the rear of this year’s podium-finishing AMR23 almost a carbon copy of the Mercedes F1 car.

Saying goodbye to Mercedes engines means letting go of all the rest with Aston Martin then having to design their own gearboxes, not an easy feat for a team that hasn’t been doing it for years.