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Business News/ Auto News / Honda and Aston Martin forge alliance, set to power Formula One's future with new engine regulations in 2026

Honda and Aston Martin forge alliance, set to power Formula One's future with new engine regulations in 2026

Aston Martin and Honda will join forces in 2026 as Honda returns to Formula One as a factory supplier. Despite their past conflict, Fernando Alonso will remain with Aston Martin as they confirmed the partnership in Tokyo, aligning with new F1 engine regulations.

For representation purposes. Premium
For representation purposes.

Aston Martin has revealed plans for a new partnership with Honda, marking the return of the Japanese automaker as a factory Formula One supplier in 2026. This collaboration will coincide with the introduction of new engine regulations in F1. Interestingly, Fernando Alonso, who had a contentious separation from Honda in 2015 due to his strong criticism of their F1 endeavors, is currently driving for Aston Martin. The team officially announced the works partnership with Honda on Wednesday in Tokyo, indicating their intention to continue with Alonso on board for the 2026 season.

The enticing prospect of F1's new regulations, aligned with the sport's aim of attaining carbon neutrality by 2030, successfully enticed Honda to assume a more prominent engine role. These forthcoming regulations, scheduled for 2026, will enforce a power output ratio of 50% for both the engine and electric motor, while exclusively utilizing 100% sustainable fuel.

Ford has announced its intentions to make a comeback in Formula One in 2026 alongside Red Bull, aligning with the sport's new regulations. Similarly, General Motors, operating under the Cadillac brand, has expressed its interest in joining F1, contingent upon Michael Andretti receiving approval to establish a team. Honda, on the other hand, concluded its works program with Red Bull following the 2021 season, which coincided with Max Verstappen's first championship win. Since then, Honda has continued to support both Red Bull and AlphaTauri as a technical partner. It's worth noting that Aston Martin currently sources its engines from Mercedes.

For the 2026 season, the FIA has granted approval for engines from Alpine, Audi, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes, and Red Bull in partnership with Ford. Additionally, Audi will make its debut as a new participant in Formula One. When Honda confirmed its return, the president of Honda Racing Corp. faced the immediate inquiry of whether the engine manufacturer would be open to collaborating with Fernando Alonso. Despite experiencing a strained relationship during Alonso's tenure at McLaren, the 41-year-old driver has been experiencing a remarkable career resurgence in his first season with Aston Martin.

Fernando Alonso's actions during his time at McLaren caused significant displeasure and led to Honda's refusal to collaborate with him as a McLaren entrant in the Indianapolis 500. However, Koji Watanabe stated that if Alonso continues to drive for three more seasons, Honda would be willing to work with him.

Watanabe, speaking through a translator, acknowledged that there were previous challenges concerning Alonso. However, since collaborating with Red Bull and achieving the world championship title, Honda's perspective towards the driver has changed. Recognizing Alonso as an exceptionally talented driver, Honda holds great respect for him. Watanabe emphasized that the decision regarding team drivers ultimately lies with the team, but if Alonso were to be selected, Honda would be willing to work alongside him.

Martin Whitmarsh, group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, expressed that Alonso's criticism eight years ago was during a race and should be long forgotten.

“I think this stems from something Fernando said in the heat of the battle a few years ago, which was regrettable. He is a truly great driver. I think he's developed not only as a driver, but in his thinking about being a team member, since that time," Whitmarsh said.

Lance Stroll, the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll, and Fernando Alonso are currently teammates and both are enjoying remarkable seasons. Alonso has achieved four podium finishes out of five races and holds an impressive third position in the Formula One standings. Meanwhile, Stroll has reached a career-high eighth place in the standings.

(With inputs from AP)



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Published: 24 May 2023, 12:45 PM IST
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