F1: Honda set for front-line return as Aston Martin engine manufacturer

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Honda will return to Formula 1 as a full-time engine manufacturer for Aston Martin in 2026.

The Japanese company officially quit the sport following Max Verstappen’s first title win in 2021 but has continued to supply power units for Red Bull since then.

But on Wednesday morning, Honda announced it would return as a full-blown engine partner when new rules come into play for 2026, which drastically increase the electrical performance of an F1 engine.

Honda’s deal to supply power units for Red Bull expires at the end of 2025 when Red Bull becomes an engine manufacturer in its own right.

Martin Whitmarsh, Group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, said: “Aston Martin is building a team to win in F1. We have been recruiting the right people and investing in the required facilities and developing the right culture and processes to win.

“Our future works partnership with Honda is one of the last parts of the jigsaw puzzle slotting into place for Aston Martin’s ambitious plans in Formula 1. To partner a global motorsport titan like Honda is an extremely exciting and important further step for the team.”

Meanwhile, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe said of the 2026 regulation changes: “We believe this know-how gained from this new challenge has the potential to be applied directly to a future mass-production electric vehicle.

“The new regulations require about 50% or more of electrification, which moves even further towards electrification and I believe the technology for electrification will be useful for us in producing vehicles in the future.”

Aston Martin have been the revelation of this season. After finishing seventh in last year’s constructors’ championship, the team are best of the rest behind Red Bull having made massive strides forward over the winter. Fernando Alonso is currently third in the drivers’ standings after his repeated podium finishes.