Formula 1’s shift toward sustainability is luring a major engine manufacturer.
Honda announced Wednesday that it will return to F1 in 2026, supplying engines exclusively to Aston Martin in a major step for both companies.
Honda supplied engines to various teams from 2015-21, most recently for Red Bull, which continued to work with Honda in 2022 after engine construction was officially handed over to Red Bull Powertrains.
Red Bull finished a close second to Mercedes for the 2021 Constructors’ Cup, won handily in 2022, and has continued its dominance this year, winning all five races to date.
As for Aston Martin, the move presents an opportunity to decouple from rival Mercedes, which currently supplies its engines.
“The nature of F1 is if you want to win, it means beating Mercedes, and it is extremely difficult to beat an organization as good as Mercedes if you are reliant on them for intellectual property, facilities, and components,” said Aston Martin’s group CEO, Martin Whitmarsh.
When Honda left F1, it said that the series was no longer aligned with the carmaker’s research and development goals, including a shift toward sustainability. F1 recaptured Honda’s interest by adjusting vehicle requirements to include more electric power and sustainable fuels starting in 2026.
That change “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,” Honda global CEO Toshihito Mibe said.