One of the biggest pieces of news in the topsy turvy world of Formula 1, if not the biggest, is the forthcoming return of the iconic engine manufacturer Honda to the top tier of Grand Prix racing. The same is expected from 2026 onwards, which still is three years into the future.
Having said that, the last notable partnership that one of the foremost and noteworthy engine suppliers had in the most elite form of single-seater racing was back in 2017 with McLaren.
Subsequently, Honda had announced starting 2020 that it would leave Formula 1 and when Max Verstappen clinched what became his maiden if also the most controversial world championship title, Honda officially withdrew from the championship.
Yet, the mega Japanese brand continued to supply power units to the Milton Keynes-based Red Bull team, a supply deal which now runs until the end of the F1 2025 season.
But with news emerging about Honda’s now confirmed return as the works partner for the famous Aston Martin racing team from the onset of 2026, there’s been much talk regarding what could be a forthcoming re-association with Fernando Alonso.
Of course, it makes no sense to put it any other way than to dub Fernando Alonso and Honda’s past experience at McLaren as being fractious and disconcerting.
From the onset of the year 2015 until the completion of 2017, the kind of form Fernando Alonso demonstrated at the Honda-powered McLaren team was vastly underwhelming and perhaps completely unexpected.
Those were three years punctuated with massive underperformance and lacklustre results that one felt a legend of the grid did not deserve. Alas, there was little that Fernando Alonso could’ve done apart from pushing a visibly vapid McLaren to the best of his ability.
There was frustration. There was manic tension regarding the Honda RA615H 1.6 V6 power trains that just weren’t working.
But that was back in the day. And what happens in the past, remains in the past.
Honda have experienced newfound enthusiasm on what could be a fresh re-association with a titan of the F1 grid, someone whose mega talent is enabling Aston Martin to take the fight to Red Bull and defy even Ferrari as far as first five rounds of 2023 are concerned.
The Fernando Alonso we see today is a driver who’s undergone massive change in fortunes; he is in fine knick and scoring regular podiums where the recent results are concerned.
Arguably, seeing great potential in the Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso alliance, Honda is pumped and keen to form what could be a new partnership with the famous Spaniard.
Though, one mustn’t forget that should he remain on the grid in 2026, which is when Honda are marked to return, Fernando Alonso will be 45.
That told, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe has expressed the company’s keenness on thinking of a new alliance with Alonso.
“We have been accelerating our development during our recent time in Formula 1 while working with Alonso, and that enabled us to win the world championship. The selection of drivers is up to the team to decide. So, if the team decides we’ll have Alonso as a driver again, we will have no objections whatsoever on him driving.”
Calling Fernando Alonso a genius, Mr. Watanabe would further add, “With respect to the driver selection, I will not say we’re not going to be involved in team management whatsoever but the decision of the drivers is up to the team. Of course we will be giving them suggestions or input.”