Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe has offered his thoughts on them potentially working with Fernando Alonso again, after news broke that Aston Martin and Honda will partner up from 2026 onwards.
A press conference in Tokyo confirmed the news that the Japanese automotive giant were going to make a full return to F1 for 2026 onwards, inspired and motivated by the sport’s new engine regulations coming in for that season and also the move to sustainable fuels.
Indeed, Honda say the goals of F1 largely tie in with what they are trying to do as a wider business, and so pushing the technology in F1 will help them do that.
Honda are currently in a support role for Red Bull Racing but they’ll be back as full engine manufacturers for Aston Martin in ’26, which offers the prospect of them working once more with current Aston driver Fernando Alonso, who famously once called the Honda engine in the McLaren a ‘GP2 engine.’
Of course, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and Honda have enjoyed success since with Red Bull, and they’ll be aiming to have more of that with an ambitious Aston team.
If Alonso is still in F1 for 2026, then, they are open to working with him, or whoever the Silverstone-based outfit deems suitable:
“We have been accelerating out development during all our recent time in Formula 1, while working with Alonso, and that enabled us to win the world championship.
“The selection of drivers is up to the team to decide. So, if the team decides we’ll have Alonso as a driver again, we will have no objections whatsoever in him driving.”
Aston Martin’s Martin Whitmarsh added, meanwhile:
“[Fernando’s] a very intelligent individual, I’m sure everyone here is referring to some comments that were made in the heat of the battle once, which were quite memorable for some, but I think he understands and respects what Honda is doing.
“We’ve got to be aware – and we haven’t said it but we should say it – Honda won the 2021 and 2022 world championships and unless we can beat them this year they’re going to do it again. So, they are a great partner for us, and I think Fernando sees that.
“[2026 is] probably outside his planning horizon at the moment. We’ve got to give him a car that is consistently capable of winning races.”