Honda have officially announced that they will be back in Formula 1 in 2026 as engine supplier to Aston Martin.
The Japanese manufacturer will be joining forces with Aston, who are set to ditch Mercedes units after a long association stretching back to the early Force India days, with Honda being enticed back to Grand Prix racing yet again.
They originally joined in 2015 with McLaren before that troubled relationship was ended and a deal with Red Bull (with Toro Rosso to start with in 2018) was struck.
Honda power would propel Max Verstappen to the 2021 title, but the decision to withdraw had already been taken as efforts on the electric vehicle division was prioritised.
They are assisting Red Bull Powertrains – with that agreement set to remain in place until the end of the 2025 season – when Ford will come in and partner the Milton Keynes squad.
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Verstappen and Red Bull not losing a lot
As one global OEM exits, another enters, with the transition to Ford already well underway as Red Bull boss Christian Horner recently exclusively told RacingNews365.com, and the Honda to Aston Martin news doesn't really change a lot for Verstappen or Red Bull.
Since 2022, an engine freeze has been in place in Grand Prix racing, meaning performance developments are banned, with only reliability upgrades and software updates permitted by the power unit manufacturers.
In other words, the engines that began the 2022 season will fundamentally be the same as those in use at the final race of the 2025 season.
Red Bull Powertrains is focused on the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) components of the 2026 power unit, with Ford's expertise set to be deployed in the hybrid and electrical components.
It means that Verstappen and Red Bull won't be affected by the loss of Honda to Aston Martin, except having to adjust to working with a different workforce in Ford.
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to ask if Mattia Binotto could really join Alpine, what Pirelli's new tyres are about and the latest on the Red Bull-Ford partnership!