F1 Teams Are Clamoring To Work With Honda From 2026

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Honda bosses have confirmed that they have been "contacted by multiple F1 teams" after being announced as an official engine supplier.

After being announced by the FIA as one of six approved powertrain suppliers for the 2026-2030 Formula 1 seasons, Honda has confirmed that it has already attracted interest from multiple teams. However, interest does not mean any deals have been signed, and thus far, Honda has no firm decision as to whether or not it will even build an F1 motor.

New powertrain rules come into play as of the 2026 season, with an even split between combustion and electric power and a commitment towards recycled carbon fuels and carbon neutrality by 2030 for the entire sport. This move prompted Honda's return to F1, but of the six powertrain suppliers approved by the FIA, Honda is the only one with no confirmed teams to supply.

As reported by Reuters, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe told reporters via a virtual press briefing that, "After we made the registration, we have been contacted by multiple Formula One teams."

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However, Watanabe added, "For the time being, we would like to keep a close eye on where Formula One is going and just see how things go," saying Honda doesn't "have any concrete decisions on whether or not we will be going back to joining Formula One."

This lack of commitment may seem worrying, but it's essential to understand Honda's view of the matter. Once one of F1's most successful engine suppliers, the brand suffered reliability issues during the turbo hybrid era. A change of management within Honda led to the brand withdrawing from F1 at the end of the 2021 season to focus on its electrification strategy.

Subsequent management changes and the massive success of the Honda-powered Red Bull team sparked renewed interest, however, and the forthcoming powertrain evolution likely added the final bit of fuel to prompt new investment from Honda.


In the time between withdrawing and reinitiating interest - during which Red Bull bought out the intellectual property and founded Red Bull Powertrains - Red Bull has subsequently partnered with Ford from 2026 onwards.

The awkwardness of that decision is that for the 2023 season (and until 2025), the Honda logo will still feature on Red Bull's car, and the engines will be produced by Honda in Japan.

So without Red Bull to partner with, Honda must find other constructors. Who might those be?

We initially hypothesized a partnership with Andretti-Cadillac - should the American-based team receive FIA approval to join the sport - as General Motors and Honda already have a working relationship on both EVs and hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

While that has not been confirmed, a report by The Race suggests McLaren has already reached out to Honda over a potential deal.

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While Honda and McLaren have an illustrious past together and dominated the sport in the late 1980s and early 1990s, their last dance together ended in disaster.

Partnered for the turbo-hybrid era, things fell apart, and the relationship was canceled at the end of 2017 due to reliability problems. We're not just talking about the occasional DNF here and there, but blown engines regularly to the extent that Fernando Alonso nearly lost his mind. The fact that a Honda-powered McLaren in the Indy 500 also died when Alonso was piloting it in an attempt to nail motorsport's Triple Crown just added to the frustration between the two partners.

McLaren subsequently partnered with Mercedes and Honda with Red Bull, and the latter ended up being the most successful out of that split.


The fresh contact between the two companies isn't concrete yet, but McLaren may be looking to start the post-2026 era on the front foot. There can be no denying that in 2022, the Mercedes powertrain was not the strongest on the grid, and Ferrari and Red Bull-powered teams seemed to have better performance when they could get their aero right.

While Mercedes motors have been reliable for McLaren, when new rules come in for 2026, it may be hoping Honda can use its electrification prowess to unlock something other engine suppliers miss.

Other options for Honda likely include Williams, Haas, and possibly Aston Martin. All the remaining teams on the grid will be spoken for, as the rest are all backed in some form by the other powertrain suppliers.

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So, for now, Honda isn't a certainty for the 2026 F1 grid. But its interest is strong, and Honda bosses believe that F1's new regulations align with the brand's own goals. "That is why we have decided to register as manufacturer of a power unit," Watanabe explained. "We are curious about where Formula One is going and how [that will] look with more electrification happening."

He further highlighted technological development as being a benefit of F1, with hybrid and electrification technology likely to be of benefit for future roadgoing cars from the brand. At present, the only car from Honda to feature a highly hybridized V6 is the second-gen Acura NSX, but if it can learn a few lessons from F1, perhaps the third-gen supercar may arrive sooner than we thought.

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