Japanese carmaker Honda is set to formally return to motor racing’s premier Formula 1 (F1) series in 2026 as the engine partner of the Aston Martin team.

The deal, confirmed today (May 24), will see Honda back on the grid from the season that F1's new engine regulations are introduced, with increased electrical power and a switch to sustainable fuels.

Honda officially left the sport at the end of the 2021 season, but its engines are still used by the Red Bull team and its sister outfit AlphaTauri in a deal that runs until the end of the 2025 season.

The exclusive new deal means Aston Martin will switch from being a customer team to having a works engine. The team’s engine, gearbox, and suspension are currently supplied by Mercedes in a deal running through 2025.

Aston Martin F1 Team executive chairman Lawrence Stroll said: “I would like to welcome Honda and Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) to the Aston Martin Formula 1 Team. We have a mutual drive, determination, and relentless ambition to succeed on the track.

“Honda is a global titan and its success in motorsport is longstanding and incredibly impressive.”

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Aston Martin has surprised pundits during the F1 2023 season so far, picking up four podiums through Fernando Alonso. The team also currently lies second in the constructors’ championship – ahead of current engine suppliers Mercedes.

The UK-based team is preparing to move into their new factory and their new wind tunnel will be opening in the middle of next year.

Martin Whitmash, Aston Martin Performance Technologies chief executive, said: “I have been fortunate in my career to work with Honda over the years and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with HRC and the Aston Martin Formula 1 team from 2026.

The new 2026 F1 power unit regulations are a huge and important change but one which we are confident we can navigate successfully together.

“Our future works partnership with Honda is one of the last parts of the jigsaw puzzle slotting into place for Aston Martin’s ambitious plans in F1.

“Finally, I would like to pay tribute to our current power unit supplier who we will continue to partner with for the next few seasons.”

The announcement comes after Honda was confirmed as one of six engine suppliers to have signed up for F1’s next generation of engines in February.

At the time, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe confirmed the company had been contacted by multiple F1 teams about the possibility of an engine manufacturing partnership from 2026.

Announcing its partnership with Aston Martin, Watanabe said F1’s pursuit of carbon neutrality by 2030 was a “key factor” behind the company’s decision to re-enter the sport officially.

He said: “Honda is a company that has a history of growing by taking on challenges and winning world-class races.

“With this massive increase in electrical power, the key to winning in F1 will be a compact, lightweight, and high-power motor with a high-performance batter that is capable of swiftly handling high-power output as well as the energy-management technology.

“We believe this know-how gains from this new challenge has the potential to be applied directly to future mass-production electric vehicles, such as an electric sports model, and electrification technologies in various areas, including eVTOL which is currently under research and development.

“Honda and our new partner, the Aston Martin F1 Team, share the same sincere attitude and determination to win, so starting with the 2026 season, we will work together and strive for the Championship title as Aston Martin Aramco Honda.”

The new deal will not affect Red Bull’s current deal with Honda, which saw the team take over the running of Honda’s engines under their powertrains division.

Red Bull announced a new technical partnership with Ford for the 2026 season in February, marking the return of that automotive heavyweight to the sport after a 22-year absence. That deal forced Honda to seek a new partnership.

Responding to the partnership, F1 president and chief executive Stefano Domenicali said: “It is great news for F1 that Honda will partner with Aston Martin to supply power units from 2026.

“This is further evidence that our global platform and growth provide brands with huge potential, and it also shows that our plans to move to sustainable fuels in 2026 is the right approach to offer the automotive world alternative solutions to decarbonize the planet.

“We can all see the incredible commitment Aston Martin has made to our sport and we can’t wait to see the exciting partnership in action, and I want to congratulate both parties on this exciting news.”