Aston Martin to switch to Honda F1 power
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 24th May, 2023 - 12:30pm
Aston Martin and Honda have announced they will join forces for the 2026 Formula 1 season.
Aston Martin will become the Japanese marque’s ‘works’ team in what is, currently, an exclusive supply arrangement.
Honda will develop the power unit, with the Silverstone operation in charge of chassis design and the day-to-day running of the team.
“The Aston Martin Formula 1 team and Honda share the same spirit, and together we will take on this new challenge,” Koji Watanabe, President of Honda Racing Corporation, told select media, including Speedcafe.
“In this project, HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] will design and manufacture the power unit, optimised for Aston Martin’s F1 chassis configuration, and supply it to them.”
It marks a significant deviation for Aston Martin which has been a Mercedes customer since 2009, when it was known as Force India.
Aston Martin CEO, Martin Whitmarsh, noted the “incompatibility” with Mercedes given its customer supply agreement and the team’s F1 ambitions.
“Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant is building a team to win in Formula 1,” he said in the same media call.
“Over the last 18 months, I think we’ve been recruiting the right people.
“We’ve been investing in the required facilities and developing the right culture, and processes to win. We know, however, that we need strong partnerships.
“It’s a great opportunity to partner with a global motorsport titan like Honda as a works team.
“This is an extremely exciting and important further step for the team.”
Honda has confirmed its interest in continuing in Formula 1 into the next generation of regulations, set to be introduced in 2026, despite initially looking to step away from the sport in 2020.
Currently supplying Red Bull, that relationship will continue until the end of 2025.
Ironically, Honda’s decision to leave the sport triggered discussions that will see the Milton Keynes squad brings its engine programme in-house and link up with Ford.
Honda powered Red Bull to championships in both 2021 and 2022, and holds a dominant position atop the constructors’ championship after five rounds so far this year.
The Aston Martin-Honda partnership has been rumoured for some time, with it arguably the most attractive team not aligned with a manufacturer in a factory sense.
It has made strong strides forward this season with Fernando Alonso having secured four podiums from the opening five races.
Off track, the team has built an expansive new factory with a brand new wind tunnel set to come online midway through 2024.
Honda meanwhile has remained involved in discussions surrounding Formula 1’s next generation of power units.
While it has slimmed its workforce over the past 12 months, the expertise that developed the current Honda engine was redeployed onto other projects within the organisation.
It also remains active in building and servicing power units for Red Bull.
The Aston Martin announcement is a boon for Formula 1, with six of its 10 teams set to be factory operations for 2026, up from four at present; Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull (Honda), and Alpine (Renault).
For 2026, Red Bull will develop its own power units, thereby making it a factory team like Ferrari or Mercedes.
Audi will also join the fray after taking a stake in Sauber Motorsport which will see the Swiss operation rebranded in future seasons.
Going foward, it leaves just Williams, Haas, Scuderia AlphaTauri, and McLaren as customer operations.Sign up here to receive our daily newsletters and breaking news alerts, sent straight to your inbox.
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