Honda ready to try and win with Aston Martin F1 and Alonso come 2026, leaving “GP2 engine” comment in the past

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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Last week, Fernando Alonso’s renewal with Aston Martin was officially revealed in a multi-year contract, allowing the Spaniard to continue racing the top category in a new era of regulations arriving to Formula 1 in 2026.

In that same year, Aston Martin will begin the story of an alliance with Honda that brings back memories of a rather unpleasant past between the Japanese company and the 42-year-old, back to when Honda powered McLaren between 2015 and 2017.

Alonso was vocal about the manufacturer’s engines that turned out to be underpowered and unreliable, going as far as to bitterly call the motor a “GP2 engine” during the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix.

The Spanish driver also said during practice at his home race in 2017 that “the engine feels good, much slower than before. Amazing.”

Speaking exclusively to, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe confessed to having had an approach with the Spaniard regarding the possibility of working together again in the future, even though, according to Watanabe, Alonso “at the time, hadn’t decided on his next contract yet.”

Regarding the McLaren Honda era and the partnership with Alonso, Watanabe expressed that it was a “particularly frustrating period in our history, and there were times when our relationship was strained. But, I think we have become stronger because we overcame that frustration. Alonso has also been very active since then.

“I’m glad that we can overcome that painful experience together and fight together for victory once again. I hope that we can aim for the championship together and win together.

“I spoke with him in Las Vegas,” he said. “At the time, he hadn’t decided on his next contract yet.

“But Alonso came when we were talking with Mike Krack. He said: ‘Good luck’ and ‘If we have a chance, let’s race together.’ We just spoke a few words.

“We had many conversations with Aston Martin regarding our partnership starting in 2026,” added Watanabe.

“During that time, we exchanged opinions about drivers too and we shared an understanding between us and Aston Martin that Alonso was definitely a top-class driver.

“Aston Martin asked us if there would be any problems from Honda if they extended Alonso’s contract. The situation was shared at various stages.

“But Honda did not make any requests regarding this matter. In any case, we should naturally discuss what kind of driver line-up we need to win, and it was in this context that the team decided to extend Alonso’s contract.”

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team

The two-time-World-Champion had his opportunity to speak about the reunion with Honda in a media session after his contract renewal was announced.

“Honda is definitely a manufacturer that has so much success in F1, and not [only] F1 [but] in the world of motorsport, that it’s always a company that I respected,” he commented. “It didn’t work for us in McLaren, in the years that they came [back] to the sport, but right after that they fixed all the problems.

“They are currently dominating the sport, and they’ve been world champion for the last few years [with Red Bull]. I think they will have a baseline for 2026 that is already very strong, but also they have the capacity in Sakura of building something really nice.

“Obviously with the sustainable fuels that we will have in 2026, this is something that also I would love to experiment [with]. I see a win-win situation.”