Why Honda’s USA division will help make Aston Martin’s 2026 F1 power unit

Elizabeth Blackstock
Aston Martin and Honda logos.

Aston Martin and Honda will be joining forces from the 2026 season.

Honda’s involvement in Formula 1 has largely been an international effort, but in 2026, the Japanese automaker has announced that its newly rebranded American motorsport division will help develop the power units set to be raced by Aston Martin.

Further, Honda staff from the American division will be present at F1 races, joining members of Honda’s current Silverstone-based outfit.

In the past, Honda has had two distinct racing departments: Honda Performance Development (HPD), which worked on motorsport projects in America, such as the manufacturer’s IndyCar program, and Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), which took on Honda’s international racing efforts, including its F1 program.

However, in late September of 2023, Honda announced that its racing divisions would combine. What used to be known as HPD is now HRC U.S.; it’ll still retain its base in Santa Clarita, California, but it will become intimately tied into the global racing operations.

During the press conference about HPD’s evolution into HRC U.S., manufacturer representatives noted two big motivating factors: the growing American presence in F1, and more hybrid powertrain development in different series.

There are currently five North American races on the Formula 1 calendar: Miami, Montreal, Austin, Mexico, and Las Vegas.

It therefore makes sense for Honda to take advantage of its California base during those events as it keeps everyone in similar operating time zones.

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Also, America’s open-wheel IndyCar series is pursuing the implementation of hybrid powertrains beginning sometime after the running of the 2024 Indianapolis 500 in May, making even more sense for Honda to pool its resources and share information while working on vaguely similar projects.

Any work done in the United States will also be accounted for under current power-unit cost cap regulations. In other words, Honda must conform to a single budget, even if it’s undertaking work in two different countries.

“Our goal is to increase the HRC brand and sustain the success of our racing activities and we believe that uniting Honda motorsports globally as one racing organization will help achieve that,” said Koji Watanabe, the president of HRC Japan.

“Our race engineers in the U.S. and Japan will be stronger together and I am so happy to welcome our U.S. associates to the HRC team.”

Formula 1’s push into America, then, isn’t just limited to teams and race tracks; even global auto manufacturers are looking to capitalize on the best and brightest minds in the United States to bolster their already flourishing motorsport development programs.

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