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Fernando Alonso

Alonso Aston Martin future at risk? Honda address rift

Despite having had a difficult working relationship in the past, Honda say they have no issue with a potential F1 reunion with Fernando Alonso.

Alonso Aston Martin Australian GP 2023
To news overview © XPBimages

Honda has "no objections" to working with "genius" Fernando Alonso again despite its previously fractious relationship with the Spaniard.

The Japanese manufacturer will team up with Aston Martin from 2026 onwards to make the Silverstone-based team Honda's de facto works outfit.

Alonso previously drove with Honda power units between 2015 and 2017 during an ill-fated spell with McLaren, in which he infamously termed the underpowered Honda a "GP2 engine" at its home race at Suzuka in 2015.

Alonso will also be 44 at the start of the 2026 season, casting doubt over whether the Spaniard would still be in F1 by then anyway, and AlphaTauri's Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda has been linked with a potential move to Aston Martin.

However, Honda Racing Corporation President Koji Watanabe stressed that Aston Martin would have the final decision on the team's driver line-up.

"The selection of drivers is up to the team to decide," Watanabe told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"So if the team decides we'll have Alonso as a driver again, we will have no objections whatsoever on him driving.

"Alonso is a genius driver and we respect him highly.

"With respect to the driver selection, I will not say we're not going to be involved in team management whatsoever, but the decision of the drivers is up to the team."

Honda Global CEO Toshiro Mibe echoed Watanabe's comments, adding: "The past is the past.

"Alonso is a super talented driver and we pay high respect towards him. But since the driver selection is up to the team, I would like to leave it to the team."

			© Wikimedia
	© Wikimedia

"Alonso is a genius driver and we respect him highly."

- Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe

Aston Martin: Alonso's doing a great job!

Aston Martin's group CEO Martin Whitmarsh added that any future cooperation would not be influenced by previous comments from two-time World Champion Alonso, who has made a strong start to life at the team with four podium finishes across the first five races of 2023.

"Clearly Fernando is doing a great job and I'm delighted to have him as part of our team as he's making a great contribution both on and off the track," said Whitmarsh.

"I spoke to Fernando a while ago about the direction we wanted to go. He's a very intelligent individual.

"I'm sure everyone here is referring to some comments that were made in the heat of the battle, which were quite memorable, but he understands and respects what Honda is doing.

"Honda won the 2021 and 2022 World Championships [with current partner Red Bull], 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."

Would Alonso still be driving in 2026?

Though Alonso currently has a multi-year deal with Aston Martin, Whitmarsh noted that the Spaniard's age meant he was not likely to be thinking too far ahead.

"2026 is probably outside his planning horizon at the moment," suggested Whitmarsh.

"We've got to give him a car that is consistently capable of winning races. We've made a reasonable step forward this year, we're not yet where we need to be but we're continuing to develop the team's facilities and we'll get stronger.

"We'll have a discussion before 2026, I'm sure, about where Fernando's future lies.

"I hope he'll be around for a number of years and it would be great if he's as fit and competitive as he is today. Then it would be fantastic to have him in the car in 2026 as well."

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