Honda to Return as Martin’s Official Engine Supplier; Aims to Be in-Line With 2026 F1 Regulations

For those caught unaware, Honda officially backed off from Formula One in 2021 but is now set to mark its return.

On Wednesday, Japanese carmaker Honda announced its plans to return to Formula One as a full-blown engine manufacturer. In fact, Honda is all set to power Aston Martin's title ambitions too as it enters a new era in 2026. The new partnership is expected to transform Silverstone-based Aston Martin into Honda’s main focus on the starting grid and move it ahead from its current state of being one of four teams with Mercedes engines.

"It is very, very difficult to win consistently championships without a full working relationship, which is why we've made this decision," Aston Martin's Group CEO of Performance Technologies, Martin Whitmarsh, informed reporters about the decision.

Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) president Koji Watanabe also asserted that the manufacturer had no plans to supply power units to other teams.

For those caught unaware, Honda officially backed off from Formula One in 2021 but continued to provide engines to Red Bull, the reigning world champions. However, Red Bull has already announced a deal with Ford for 2026 as part of a technical support arrangement.

CEO Toshihiro Mibe also mentioned that the 2026 regulations and Formula One's push for sustainability were in alignment with Honda's carbon neutrality goals.

Mibe’s statement

"The key for winning will be a compact, lightweight, and high-power electric motor with a high-performance battery capable of handling high and swift power output, as well as the energy management technology," he said, adding, "We believe that the technologies and know-how gained from this new challenge can potentially be applied directly to our future mass production electric vehicles, such as an electric flagship sports model, and electrification technologies in various areas."

It is said that Formula One's 2026 power unit will use 100% sustainable fuels, and the sport is now aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Second in the manufacturers’ championship

Coming to Silverstone-based Aston Martin, it is owned by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll and is second in the manufacturers’ championship, collecting 87 points from five races so far. Veteran Alonso has finished in the third position on four occasions, but the team is yet to win a race. For the unversed souls, back in 2015, Alonso harshly criticized Honda for its poor straight-line pace during the manufacturer's partnership with McLaren.

"Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant is building a team to win in Formula One," said former McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh, adding, "This is an extremely exciting and important further step for the team. It's clear to us and to Honda that the 2026 Formula One regulations will require the full integration of chassis and PU (power unit) that only a full works team relationship delivers."

Nonetheless, after taking a break from Mercedes, Aston Martin will have to build their own gearboxes and rear suspension. "You set out to win in Formula One, and that means beating existing partners, and in order to do that, we've got to be independent," Whitmarsh said as he revealed that the team would continue to compete as Aston Martin after 2026.