Honda president weighs in on the possibility of reuniting with Fernando Alonso

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso smiling wearing sunglasses. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Honda have “no objections whatsoever” to possibly reuniting with Fernando Alonso when their Aston Martin works partnership begins in 2026, says Honda president Koji Watanabe.

Honda worked with Alonso from 2015 to 2017 in what was a disappointing period for both the Japanese engine manufacturer and the McLaren team.

Wracking up more engine penalties than points, including a record penalty of 105 grid positions at the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix, Alonso lambasted Honda at that season’s Japanese Grand Prix when he yelled “GP2 engine!” as he was overtaken by the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen.

Honda subsequently parted ways with McLaren before signing with Red Bull, joining first their junior team in 2018 before powering the senior team a year later. Today they’re on their way to a third successive Drivers’ title with the Red Bull-Honda package.

That relationship will end in 2025 with Honda instead set to power Aston Martin in 2026, the two parties confirming on Wednesday they’d signed what would be a works partnership.

It’s one that could yet see Alonso reunited with Honda.

“The selection of drivers is up to the team to decide. So, 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 insisted.

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“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.

“We respect him [Alonso] highly. With respect to the driver selection, I will not say we’re not going to be involved in team management whatsoever but the decision of the drivers is up to the team.

“Of course we will be giving them suggestions or input.”

Alonso is contracted to Aston Martin through to the end of next season but with four podiums in five races, and showing arguably the best form he has in years, it’s not inconceivable to think he may continue for another year or two after that.

Aston Martin’s group CEO of performance technologies Martin Whitmarsh says he doesn’t foresee any issues should Alonso and Honda join forces again.

He said: “He’s making a great contribution both on and off the track. Obviously I spoke to Fernando a little while ago about the direction we intended to go.

“I’m sure everyone here is referring to some comments that were made probably in the heat of battle once, which were quite memorable I suppose for some, but I think he understands and respects what Honda are doing.

“Honda won the 2022 and 2021 World Championships (with Red Bull) and unless we can beat them this year they are going to do it again. So they are a very great partner for us and I think Fernando sees that.

“Probably 2026, who knows, is outside his planning horizon at the moment…I hope he’ll be around for a number of years and if he’s as fit and as competitive as he is today then it would be fantastic to have him in the car in 2026 as well.”