Verstappen: “Seeing Honda go to Aston Martin is a bit of a shame”

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It was announced on Wednesday that Honda agreed a deal with Aston Martin to supply the Silverstone-based team with power units from the 2026 season onwards.

The Japanese manufacturer had an absolute nightmare return to Formula 1 in 2015 when they partnered with McLaren.

Unreliability and a lack of power led to some fiery words from Fernando Alonso in particular over the three seasons spent with the Woking team, including the infamous ‘GP2 engine’ message over team radio at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2015.

Things got far better for Honda when they joined forces with Red Bull Racing in 2019. Races were won in their first season together, and Max Verstappen would go on to win the Drivers’ Championship in 2021 powered by Honda. A huge success after the dark times at McLaren.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

However, Honda announced they would be exiting the sport at the end of 2021 in October 2020, and Red Bull Racing set up RBPT after that call.

Honda changed their mind — not for the first time — and will be back on the grid for 2026 with Aston Martin. No reunion with Red Bull was possible.

Max Verstappen was asked at his media session today about Honda’s U-turn and the fact they will be an opponent in three years time.

“Yeah, I mean I think from our side of course it’s a bit unfortunate how all of that turned out, because a few years ago they say ‘we’re going to stop’.

“So then Red Bull sets up its whole engine division and at one point they say ‘no, we continue’. Unfortunately, once you’re already in the process of building a whole engine yourself, you can’t really work together anymore.”

The two-time World Champion admits it’s a bit of a shame they exited and then rapidly reversed their decision on quitting the sport after the great success they had together over three seasons.

Red Bull and Honda won 16 races during the spell together, along with the coveted Drivers’ Championship two years ago.

“It’s a bit of a shame I would say. I mean we always have and had a really good relationship with them. Seeing them of course go to Aston Martin is a bit of a shame.

“We are also very excited from our side, from 2026 onwards, what’s going to happen together with Ford.

“A few years ago we thought they were going to leave. Now they stay and they go with Aston Martin, which I think for Aston Martin as well is really good.

“They have a great engine, we all know that. So it is what it is.”

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool