Honda says it received "great" offers from many Formula 1 teams for a 2026 engine deal, but it was Aston Martin’s win at all costs attitude that clinched its deal.
The Japanese manufacturer announced on Wednesday morning that it will be embarking on an exclusive works relationship with Aston Martin from 2026, after its current partnership with Red Bull ends.
The arrangement comes after Honda initially lodged its interest in producing an engine for the 2026 rules last November, without having any clarity on potential partners.
Reflecting on how the negotiations progressed from there, Honda says that several F1 outfits expressed their desire to join forces, before the final decision on what to do was made last month.
Honda’s president and CEO Toshiro Mibe said that numerous approaches were made after the company’s new engine plan was revealed, but Aston Martin quickly emerged as the best option.
“We were approached by so many teams,” he said. “There were many discussions, debating as to whether we really wanted to participate in the 2026 race, and there were great and wonderful offers from various teams.
“But it was in particular Aston Martin's passionate offer, and their determination to win whatever it costs, [that meant] we were very moved. We thought that their vision and passion were very similar to ours.”
Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe revealed that negotiations with Aston Martin began as early as January.
But he says it was a factory visit to the team’s new £200 million Silverstone base earlier this year that rammed home to him why teaming up with the squad was the best option.
“We had discussions with multiple teams in order to figure out the future moving forward,” he explained.
"Through various discussions, we thought that Aston Martin had the strongest passion for winning the championship.
“I was personally honoured to visit the factory physically and see they were making investments on various things, including personnel, and steadily progressing forward.
“They have also given us a high rating for our power unit abilities, so it's not just that Aston Martin needs us. We really wanted to work together with Aston Martin. And that is why we chose Aston Martin.”
While Aston Martin’s attitude has impressed Honda’s bosses, the team itself remains realistic about the progress it needs to make over the next few years if it is to deliver on victory ambitions with Honda for 2026.
Aston Martin Performance Technologies CEO Martin Whitmarsh said: “We stay humble. We know we have a lot to achieve, and a lot to learn from Honda, and to develop ourselves.
“But in this sport, unless you have a real passion, and desire, and a hunger and determination to win, you will not succeed. We are at the pinnacle of motorsport worldwide.
“It's extremely competitive. But we have an absolute determination, Lawrence [Stroll], myself and all the other team members, we are here to win. And that's the exciting thing.
“We see that same passion and relentless drive in Honda as well, they are winners. And that's why we were tremendously attracted to this opportunity.
“So, we've set ourselves a target, to win in 2026, and then to win consistently thereafter. It's a real tough battle to do that. But I think we are very determined to be very competitive.”