Honda: “We’re curious about where F1 is going” as they’re approached over 2026 engine deal

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By Luke-John Buckle

Honda says multiple Formula 1 teams have approached the company about a 2026 engine deal, as it ponders staying in F1.

The Japanese manufacturer is one of six companies to have registered their interest in the new 2026 engine regulations alongside new entries Ford and Audi.

Honda’s current partners Red Bull and AlphaTauri will collaborate with Ford from 2026, so the Japanese company is evaluating other options.

At a pre-season press conference in Japan on Monday, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe said that the company remained ‘curious’ about F1’s direction, as dialogue had opened with teams about a potential deal.

“Formula 1 is greatly shifting towards electrification, and carbon neutrality is our corporate-wide target at Honda,” he said.

“We think that F1’s future direction is in line with our target, so that is why we have decided to register as the manufacturer of a power unit.

“We’re curious about where F1 is going; F1 being the top racing category and how is that going to look with more electrification happening? We would like to keep a very close eye on that. And that is why we have decided to register as a PU manufacturer.

“After we made the registration, we have been contacted by multiple F1 teams.

“For the time being, we would like to keep a close eye on where F1 is going and just see how things go.

“For now, we don’t have any concrete decisions on whether or not we will be going back to joining F1.

“But, from the perspective of technological development, we think that knowing that this is being part of F1 is going to help us with technological development. So that is where we are.”

Honda’s most realistic opportunities to remain in Formula 1 are rekindling former partnerships with McLaren or Williams.

A third option for Honda could be to link up with Aston Martin who are currently powered my Mercedes.

Asked why discussions about continuing with Red Bull from 2026 had been a failure, Watanabe replied: “It was not a failure. We never really saw that as any failure of any sort.

“As a technical partner, we’re always in contact with Red Bull. So, there are many topics that we discuss and many that we have discussed.

“But out of this dialogue, it was decided that we will not continue this partnership beyond 2025. So, there’s nothing that’s fixed from 2026. It is as simple as that.”

Honda’s logo were re-added to the Red Bull and AlphaTauri cars at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix after the engine manufacturer quit Formula 1 at the end of 2021.

The Honda badge will be on the power unit itself from this season as Red Bull push for a second consecutive Constructors’ title.

The HRC president said: “As a symbol of continued partnership with Red Bull group, both team’s machines will continue to carry Honda and the HRC logos, and it has been decided that the name Honda will be added to the PU manufacturer’s name and power unit name.

“The PU manufacturer name will be changed to Honda RBPT. And the power unit name will be changed to Honda RBPT H001 for the 2023 season.”

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool