Honda to make full-scale F1 return in 2026 as they join forces with Aston Martin
Japanese manufacturer Honda will launch a full-scale return to Formula 1 in 2026 as the works power unit supplier to Aston Martin. Honda left F1 at the end of 2021, after a seven-year stay in the sport that culminated in a drivers’ World Championship victory through Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
They continued their relationship with Red Bull through a power unit support deal, which will still run until the end of 2025, and won both championships in 2022.
When F1 unveiled its new engine regulations for 2026, Honda were enticed by the requirement to use 100% sustainable fuels and the greater focus on electrical power, as it delivered synergies with the automotive company's goals.
But with Red Bull pursuing their own path with an in-house power unit division, aided by their new partner, American car giant Ford, Honda had to look elsewhere – and signed a deal with Aston Martin, who were keen on finding a works partner to develop an engine bespoke for the team.
Mercedes, who have been a partner of the Silverstone-based team since 2009, will continue to supply Aston Martin with power units, plus the gearbox and rear suspension, until the end of 2025.
“One of the key reasons for our decision to take up the new challenge in F1 is that the world’s pinnacle form of racing is striving to become a sustainable racing series, which is in line with the direction Honda is aiming toward carbon neutrality, and it will become a platform which will facilitate the development of our electrification technologies,” said Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe.
“Honda is a company that has a history of growing by taking on challenges and winning world-class races. With the new 2026 regulations, 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.
“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, including eVTOL which is currently under research and development.
“Honda and our new partner, the Aston Martin F1 Team, share the same sincere attitude and determination to win, so starting with the 2026 season, we will work together and strive for the Championship title as Aston Martin Aramco Honda.
“Honda has the utmost respect for the FIA, which made a bold decision to introduce these new and challenging regulations to ensure the sustainability of both racing activities and the global environment, and for the Formula 1 Group, which has been enhancing the brand value of F1 and ensuring F1’s evolvement as the most prestigious automobile racing in the world.”
Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll said: “We share a mutual drive, determination, and relentless ambition to succeed on track. Honda is a global titan and its success in motorsport is longstanding and incredibly impressive.”
Koji Watanabe, President of Honda Racing Corporation – the racing division of Honda which will run the project – added: “In the midst of major changes in our business and the motorsports environment leading toward the transition to a carbon neutral society, we have re-established HRC as an optimal platform to sustain and further evolve motorsport activities as a Honda strength. We will establish sustainable operational structures for our racing activities and continue to deliver more dreams and excitement for motorsports fans all around the world.”
Group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies Martin Whitmarsh added: “The new 2026 F1 power unit regulations are a huge and important change, but one which we are confident we can navigate successfully together. Jointly with our strategic partner Aramco, we can look forward to open collaboration towards a common goal.
“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. Finally, I would like to pay tribute to our current power unit supplier who we will continue to partner with for the next few seasons.”
Watanabe also said Honda – who will enter their fifth stint in F1 – have no plans to supply power units to “any other parties” other than Aston Martin from 2026 onwards.