Could Honda becoming Aston Martin’s engine supplier in 2026 become a reality?
Multiple sources have indicated that Honda will commit to the new 2026 regulations after all, with Aston Martin currently a Mercedes engine customer tipped to be its partner.
The 2026 season will see a reshuffle of engine partners with Sauber leaving Ferrari to become the works Audi outfit, and Red Bull and AlphaTauri parting company with Honda to run the new Ford backed PU.
Honda’s position remains unclear. The Japanese manufacturer officially quit F1 at the end of 2021 but it is still a partner of Red Bull’s two F1 teams until the end of 2025. Encouraged by a double title success for Max Verstappen, the company is having second thoughts about its planned withdrawal from the sport, and its name is on the list of manufacturers registered with the FIA for 2026.
That doesn’t mean that Honda will participate, but at least it has a foot in the door. If it does intend to take part it needs to already be working on a 2026 project, and doing so under the auspices of the cost cap and the other restrictions that now apply to PU manufacturers.
Honda also needs to find a new partner team after its procrastination obliged Red Bull to take charge of its own destiny and create its own PU facility in Milton Keynes.
This is where Aston Martin comes in.
Multiple sources have indicated that Honda will commit to the new regulations after all, with Aston Martin currently a Mercedes engine customer tipped to be its partner.
Honda needed a new partner because the events it set in motion by deciding to quit F1 in the first place led to Red Bull going down a very different path.
Back in 2020 Honda’s then CEO Takahiro Hachigo announced it would leave F1 officially at the end of 2021 to prioritise zero-emissions technology for its automotive division, which had fallen behind rivals.
But this coincided with the Red Bull-Honda partnership gathering pace and they won the drivers’ world championship together in 2021.
At the same time, Red Bull and Honda struck a deal for Honda to keep supplying engines until the end of 2025 but in a less engaged capacity.
It became clear that Honda, which had a change of CEO in April 2021 to Toshihiro Mibe, was rethinking its decision to quit F1, and its success with Red Bull continued in 2022, winning both world championships.
Honda continued to be represented at technical committee meetings about the 2026 engine rules and kept a small group working on these regulations as well.
F1’s rules around sustainable fuels and an increased electrical output with a more potent MGU-K more than compensating for the dropped MGU-H seemed to give Honda an argument for such a project being compatible with its wider company goals.
Red Bull and Honda did hold talks about continuing their partnership for 2026 once it became clear Honda was interested in its formal return.
But despite their excellent and existing relationship, the creation of Red Bull Powertrains fundamentally changed the terms any deal would be subject to.
This deal for Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri to use Red Bull Ford branded engines from 2026 gathered pace in late 2022, leaving Honda to discuss with alternative parties. McLaren and Williams were both linked and McLaren reached out over the winter.
However, the expectation 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.