Aston Martin CEO suggests preferential treatment reason for Mercedes breakup

Aston Martin will be supplied engines by current Red Bull partner Honda from the 2026 F1 season.

Aston Martin group CEO Martin Whitmarsh has admitted that the Silverstone-based team needed to end their relationship with Mercedes in order to make that next step forwards, with it not being logical to have two teams powered by the same engine fighting for wins.

It was announced Wednesday morning that Aston Martin will be powered by Honda power units from 2026 onwards, when the new engine regulations are introduced.

The British side will continue to be supplied with engines from Mercedes until the new regs in 2026; however, 2025 will be their final season working together.

When Aston Martin’s deal with Mercedes comes to an end, it will mark the conclusion of a 17-year partnership which started back in 2009, when the side were originally known as Force India.

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Given how impressive Red Bull’s power unit has been this season, Aston Martin are already expected to be the Milton Keynes-based team’s main challenger from 2026, given the influence Honda have had on the Austrians current engine.

The announcement means there will be six power unit suppliers on the grid when the new regs come into effect, with Honda having previously expressed their intent to compete in 2026; albeit, without a team to supply engines to.

Aston Martin will now become a Honda works team in three years’ time, with Honda’s deal with Red Bull to expire at the end of 2025, similar to Aston Martin’s deal with Mercedes.

It’s certainly exciting times for Aston Martin, who are eager to win, with Whitmarsh noting that in order to achieve their goals, they had to leave Mercedes.

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“Mercedes has been and continues to be a great partner,” Whitmarsh said.

“They want to win, we are here to win too – and that’s where there is some incompatibility in these two missions, so we made this decision.

“If you want to be number 1, you have to beat Mercedes too, and beating such a strong organisation is extremely difficult when you depend on them for intellectual property, equipment and components.”

Given the nature of the new engine regulations, Whitmarsh believes victory will only be possible with “full working cooperation” from a power unit supplier, something they’ll receive from the Japanese manufacturer.

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“We’ve been able to achieve good results with a modest budget, but now the situation has changed,” said Whitmarsh.

“We want to win, and the 2026 regulations require not only the full physical integration of components and parts, but also at the operational level.

“It is impossible to win without this full working cooperation, which is why we have made this decision and are delighted to have such a fantastic partner as Honda.”