Road cars will still use AMG power.
Honda will return to Aston Martin in 2026 as the power unit supplier to the Aston Martin F1 team. The Japanese brand left the sport on a massive high at the end of 2021, with Max Verstappen winning his first world championship.
It was a sad moment in F1 history, but Honda gave us hope again when it appeared on the list of approved power unit providers for the 2026 season. Unlike every other supplier on the list, Honda didn't have a clear connection to a specific F1 team. Now we know Aston Martin is ditching Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrains (HPP) in favor of Honda.
"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," said Martin Whitmarsh, Group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies.
Even though Whitmarsh thanked HPP, the news has to sting a bit. Mercedes-AMG has been a dominant force during the hybrid era, winning eight constructors' championships in a row. It's worth stating that HPP still builds a decent engine, as proven by Fernando Alonso's consistency this year. Aston Martin building a better car using the same engine as the Mercedes-AMG F1 team is a whole other can of worms we're not going to open...
According to Reuters, Mercedes-Benz will retain its 9.7% stake in Aston Martin, and the road car department will continue as is. "Aston Martin Lagonda is a public company, one of its shareholders is Mercedes-Benz, and a significant proportion of its power units for the road cars comes from Mercedes-Benz," Whitmarsh said. "That is planned to continue."
That means the Aston Martin DBX and Vantage will retain their AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 hearts.
"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 Toshihiro Mibe, Honda's CEO.
Essentially, Honda is jumping on the bandwagon for the same reason Ford and Audi are. The 2026 power unit regulations make it cheaper to enter the sport and give manufacturers a chance to showcase their latest technology. From 2026 onward, the cars will run on 100% synthetic fuel and will be 50% combustion and 50% electric.
These last few years before 2026 hits will play out like a soap opera. Red Bull still has close ties with Honda but has already jumped in bed with Ford. Aston Martin is breaking up with Mercedes-AMG but has given it a three-year notice.
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