“Thrown out” by McLaren only to reunite with the team and then criticise their engine partner, Jenson Button is chuckling over the thought of Fernando Alonso teaming up with Honda.
However, his fellow pundit David Croft believes the Spaniard could be part of a formidable Aston Martin-Honda partnership – the “next Red Bull”.
Earlier this week Aston Martin announced that as of 2026 they’d have a ‘works partnership’ with Honda, one that could see Alonso teaming up with the Japanese manufacturer despite yesteryear’s controversy.
Back in 2015 when Honda returned to F1 with McLaren, Alonso famously labelled their engine a “GP2 engine” and did so at Honda’s home race in Japan.
After three unsuccessful years together as McLaren and Honda calling time on their partnership, the double World Champion claimed McLaren have “only have one problem, which is the power unit”.
Honda have since linked up with Red Bull, powering the team to back-to-back Drivers’ Championship titles and the 2022 Constructors’ crown. As for Alonso, he took a brief hiatus from F1 before returning to the sport with Renault and then joining Aston Martin.
That most recent partnership has so far proven fortuitous with Alonso and Aston Martin grabbing four podiums in five races with Mercedes power. But dreaming of greater success, and a World Championship, Aston Martin have opted to enter a works deal with Honda that begins in 2026.
It’s one that could see the Spaniard once again powered by Honda, if Alonso is still racing at 44.
Speaking about Aston Martin’s 2023 leap up the order and the future Honda partner, Alonso’s former team-mate Button told Sky Sports: “It’s never just a matter of months is it with the amount of time and effort that would go into this car.
“It’s all about who they bring in from other teams, I think we all know that. The experience of people working at Red Bull and bring that information with them, a certain amount of information you can bring with you.
“So no I’m not massively surprised. I think next year is going to be the big thing, can they continue to improve like they have.
“I love that they have Honda engines and I think that’s great. What’s even funnier is that Fernando is going to have Honda engines.
“He left McLaren, or was thrown out, they invited him back. And then he had Honda engines, called them GP2 engines, and now he’s going to have Honda engines again.”
His fellow pundit Naomi Schiff reckons sparks could fly if Honda aren’t able to recreate the success they’ve achieved with Red Bull.
“Honda have done great things since then so I think he knows that they have the potential to create an engine that’s very good,” she said. “Yes time is a healer, some people don’t forget, some people do.
“But I think it’s all going to be about the performance of the engine. If the engine is good, things will be great. If it’s not, we’ll see a feisty Fernando again, I think.”
However, Croft doubts the latter will the case, the pundit billing Aston Martin as potentially the “next Red Bull”.
“I thought Aston Martin had the potential to be the next Red Bull with Lawrence Stroll,” he said. “He’s a man in business who never folds, who’s not afraid to put his money where his mouth is.
“Whatever the reasons that he came and bought that team, and a lot of it was all about Lance, that’s not it now. He turned a midfield punching above its weight into something that’s now growing up with people and fighting for championships in the future, because that is his ultimate goal.
“And he told me in Singapore last year, ‘mark my words within two years we’re going to be winning races and the three years we’re going to be winning championships’. That is Lawrence Stroll’s mantra in Formula One and everything he’s done so far is absolutely right for that team.
“And it’s great Formula One’s got another competitive team on the grid.”