Honda Would ‘Welcome’ Yuki Tsunoda To Aston Martin

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda

Honda is making no secret of its desire to see a Japanese driver at the wheel of a Honda-powered car for Formula 1’s new rules era beginning in 2026.

Currently, the engines powering the four Red Bull-owned cars in F1 are officially called ‘Honda RBPT’ – the latter acronym standing for Red Bull’s new powertrains project.

“The reason for that is because the battery units manufactured by Honda are assembled by RBPT,” said Honda Racing Corporation president Yasuharu Watanabe.

“After 2021, our professional staff moved to Red Bull Powertrains and so they now have the know-how to develop ESS (energy storage systems) at the same level as Honda.

“However, the batteries from 2026 onwards will be completely different.”

Officially, the ‘works’ relationship between Red Bull and Honda lapsed after 2021 – and the Japanese manufacturer will switch completely to a new works partner, Aston Martin, for 2026 and beyond.

The new project appears to be even more serious than both the Red Bull and earlier failed McLaren foray – when Fernando Alonso famously called it a “GP2 engine”.

Alonso and Honda will now reunite in 2026.

“Well, they are winning the championship now, so they are demonstrating that they have the discipline and the work that is needed to succeed in Formula 1,” the Spanish driver, who has just re-signed with Aston Martin for 2025 and 2026, said in Shanghai.

Honda is currently looking for a UK site for a new European F1 base.

“We want to start recruiting as early as June, and then there is gardening leave and so on,” president Watanabe told the specialist Japanese source as-web.jp. “The location of HRC UK has not yet been decided.”

Also at present, a second Aston Martin driver for 2025 is yet to be officially confirmed, even though Lance Stroll – the son of team owner Lawrence – is the obvious front-runner.

Honda, though, is pushing for Yuki Tsunoda, who currently uses a Honda-RBPT power unit at Red Bull’s junior team.

Honda has supported the Japanese driver throughout his F1 career so far.

“Entering our fourth year, I feel that he has become more calm than ever,” president Watanabe said. “Not only on the radio but also in normal conversation. He really has changed.”

He admits that Tsunoda moving to Aston Martin would make sense.

“I have said to him ‘You don’t have to stay with Honda forever’,” said Honda’s Watanabe. “So even if our partnership with the Red Bully family ends in 2025, there will be no problem for us whether he stays at RB or moves.

“If there is an opportunity for him to come to Aston Martin, of course we would welcome it,” the Japanese admitted. “I want him to choose the best option for him.”

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