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Honda reveal ambitious target for F1 2026 return

Honda is set to return to the Formula 1 grid in 2026 in partnership with Aston Martin, five years on from its departure following world championship success with Red Bull.

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Honda has revealed it is hopeful it can win the Formula 1 world championship as soon as the 2026 season.

The Japanese manufacturer will return to the grid in two years' time as a power unit supplier, working in partnership with the Aston Martin squad.

Honda's return to the field comes five years after it officially departed, bowing out on a high as it won the 2021 drivers' championship with Max Verstappen.

Red Bull has continued to use Honda's power unit ever since, but the energy drink squad has since struck up a partnership with Ford for 2026 when new technical regulations come into play.

Aston Martin was the chosen destination for Honda's comeback, with the Lawrence Stroll-led squad investing in its F1 future through various projects including a brand-new factory that opened last year.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe outlined he is not expecting any grace period to get the partnership into a competitive position.

"To become world champion from 2026 onwards,” he said when asked about the team's ambitions with Aston Martin.

"We know that it will be very difficult and it is not so easy, but we need some good targets to put in our best effort together with Aston Martin.

"So, that's why together with Stroll and Toshihiro Mibe [Honda CEO and president], we set the target to just aim for the world championship in that year. In reality, it is not so easy."

'We're missing something'

Aston Martin's 2026 picture is already taking shape with Fernando Alonso opting to remain onboard for at least another two seasons.

The 42-year-old is still viewed as one of the grid's top performers and will reunite with Honda having endured a difficult stretch of form with the manufacturer during its struggling McLaren years from 2015 to 2017.

Watanabe asserted there is still work to do on both sides of operations if it hopes to mount a title charge in 2026.

“Probably we're missing something [right now], but we have to tell each other what is missing,” he said.

"From an Aston Martin point of view what is missing on the Honda side and also what is missing on the Aston Martin side.

“That is an honest conversation to become a top-class team together."

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