Christian Horner breaks silence on Aston Martin dumping Mercedes

Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Aston Martin's engine supply deal with Honda will grant them greater independence and boost their championship aspirations.

In a significant move, Aston Martin has severed its longstanding engine supply partnership with Mercedes and inked a deal with Honda instead, paving the way for increased independence in their operations. 

Since 2009, Aston Martin, formerly known as Force India and Racing Point, had relied on Mercedes for their engines. However, starting in 2026, the Silverstone-based team will embark on a new path with Honda as their engine supplier.

Christian Horner, the team princip of Red Bull, has lauded Aston Martin’s decision, expressing his belief that the change will provide them with a competitive edge in their pursuit of championships. 

Horner commended Aston Martin for establishing a formidable team capable of challenging his own title-winning squad, noting that the shift would grant them more autonomy.

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While recognising that Aston Martin will gain access to a competitive engine through Honda, Horner acknowledged that they already possess a capable power unit. 

He highlighted the financial implications of being a customer team, as the transferable components come with a significant cost burden. 

Horner also commended Honda for their commitment to Formula 1, emphasising their significant turnaround from their previous stance. 

“They’ll get a competitive engine, but they already have a competitive engine. They will perhaps achieve more independence because I guess their architecture is currently dictated by another team [Mercedes],” Horner said.

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“And it’s very expensive for them in the cap, the transferable components come with a big tax on them, so it’s not cost-efficient for them to be a customer. It’s good to see Honda continuing in the sport.

“They have obviously done a significant U-turn from where they were 18 months to two years ago. But I think their decision, in many ways, forced us to make a decision about our long-term future and not being beholden to a manufacturer and taking control of our own future.”

He attributed Red Bull’s own decision to pursue independence to Aston Martin’s move, as it prompted them to take control of their long-term future.

Red Bull has made substantial investments in Red Bull Powertrains, enabling them to bring the entire powertrain development process under one roof. 

Horner expressed enthusiasm for this undertaking, recognizing the challenges it presents for 2026 but also the long-term dividends it will yield. 

“By making the investment that we have in Red Bull Powertrains, it has enabled us to put the whole thing under one roof. It’s a huge task for 2026 but one that we’re really excited about,” Horner added.

“For the long-term prospects of the team, its longevity and competitiveness, of having engine engineers and chassis engineers sitting under the same roof, for a fully integrated drive train, that will pay dividends in the long run.”

Having engine engineers and chassis engineers working together in an integrated manner is seen as a key advantage for the team’s longevity and competitiveness.

Honda, having previously supplied engines to Red Bull, enjoyed a successful partnership that resulted in a world championship victory in 2021. 

After withdrawing from the sport following that season, Honda’s return as an engine supplier to Aston Martin marks a significant development. 

Aston Martin, currently on an upward trajectory, has secured five podium finishes with Fernando Alonso this season, and team boss Martin Whitmarsh sees the Honda deal as the final missing piece of the puzzle.

Whitmarsh emphasised that to compete and win consistently, especially against a formidable organization like Mercedes, reliance on them for intellectual property, facilities, and components would prove challenging. 

Acknowledging Aston Martin’s ambitions and the support of partners like Honda, he emphasised the necessity of a full works relationship to achieve championship success.

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“The nature of F1 is if you want to win, it means beating Mercedes and it is extremely difficult to beat an organisation as good as Mercedes if you are reliant on them for intellectual property, facilities and components,” he said.

“Team Silverstone has got a great tradition for delivering great bang for a small buck but we are in a different position now. The Aston Martin brand, the ambition of Lawrence Stroll and now with great partners like Honda, we are here to win.

“So in my view, it would be very, very difficult to win, consistently, championships without a full works relationship which is why we have made this decision and why we are delighted to have a fantastic partner like Honda.”