After officially withdrawing from F1 at the end of 2021, having propelled Max Verstappen to his first drivers’ title, Honda has continued to supply engines until the end of 2025 to Red Bull and RB (previously known as AlphaTauri) under its Honda Racing Corporation subsidiary - before Red Bull enters its own powertrain in conjunction with Ford.

But the Japanese manufacturer will return to the top-flight for the advent of the new powertrain regulations in 2026, which notably ditch the expensive and complex Motor Generator Unit–Heat and shift to a 50:50 power split between the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and hybrid system.

Its comeback will be as the works engine supplier to Aston Martin, and to assist that deal, HRC has created a new UK company and will correspondingly open a factory.

This will be headed up by HRC president Koji Watanabe, who joined Honda in 1987.

According to a statement from HRC: “This new company has been founded to primarily perform post-race maintenance and preparation tasks on the Honda-built F1 power units (PUs), whilst also operating as a logistics operation for the European region.

“The establishment of HRC UK will further enhance the effectiveness of Honda’s PU operations, in support of the partnership with Aston Martin [F1] Team.

“In May 2023, Honda and Aston Martin F1 jointly announced they will enter into works partnership so that Honda will supply its F1 PUs compliant with the new F1 regulations which will take effect in the 2026 season.”

HRC will begin recruiting engineers, technicians and PR staff in the spring.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24

The California-based HRC USA will also contribute to the new power unit, now the F1 calendar features five North American rounds, and will embed personnel at Aston Martin as the American arm steps up its involvement in the company’s global programmes.

Watanabe said of HRC USA: “A new corporate organisation has been established to carry out F1 activities, which is very significant.

“Until now, our activities have been projects, gathering people and money, disbanding when the project was over, and repeating. However, going forward, we will be responsible for the racing company’s activities.

“Being a company, of course, we have a budget that includes expenses for technological development with an eye to the future, such as sustainable carbon-neutral fuels, high-performance motors, batteries, and so on.”