Japanese manufacturer Honda has officially confirmed its return to Formula One through a works partnership with Aston Martin.
This new tie-up begins in 2026, when the global motorsport series introduces its new engine regulations. The most notable changes in the complex overhaul are the removal of the MGU-H, to simplify the engines for new entrants, and the introduction of 100 per cent renewable fuels.
Honda has supplied the Red Bull Racing team since 2019, although the Tokyo marque stepped away in an official capacity in 2021. This relationship has continued behind the scenes, with Honda providing technical assistance in an agreement that expires at the end of the 2025 season.
With Ford confirmed as Red Bull’s partner from 2026, Honda’s decision to step away from Formula One meant the company was required to find a new team if its hopes of a return were to be realised.
This quick U-turn was inspired by a change of leadership at Honda, with then-chief executive Takahiro Hachigo announcing that the company would step away from the global motorsport series to focus on zero-emissions technology.
However, his replacement, Toshihiro Mibe, has decided this goal can be married with Formula One’s shift to renewable fuels.
This would also represent the first departure from a Mercedes engine supply for the Silverstone outfit, having been partnered with the German manufacturer since 2009 when the team was known as Force India – although, the team was supplied by Ferrari in 2008 when they took over the existing Spyker contract.
Aston Martin securing an exclusive engine supplier, and combining that with what will be a fully operational US$276 million ‘smart factory’, makes for an intriguing threat to the bigger names in the sport.
“We share a mutual drive, determination, and relentless ambition to succeed on track,” said Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll. “Honda is a global titan and its success in motorsport is longstanding and incredibly impressive.”
Toshihiro Mibe, chief executive of Honda, added: “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.”
Interestingly, Mibe refers to the team as “Aston Martin Aramco Honda” for the 2026 season, suggesting the Saudi giant’s long-term commitment to the team, but also that Cognizant is not expected to remain tied to the team from 2026.