Honda calls for talks but remains coy on Aston Martin deal

Honda is seeking to build deeper relations with Formula 1 to influence the sport’s direction.

Honda has expressed its desire to engage in discussions with Formula 1 to amplify the influence of engine manufacturers. 

Although the Japanese marque withdrew from the sport after 2021, it maintained its association with Red Bull through the subsidiary Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) in collaboration with the team’s newly established “Red Bull Powertrains” project.

However, Honda will make a full-fledged return as a works engine manufacturer in conjunction with Aston Martin from 2026, coinciding with the introduction of the all-new engine regulations that will significantly enhance the role of electric components. 

HRC President Koji Watanabe emphasized that Honda seeks to have a more extensive involvement in Formula 1, not only on the track but also off it.

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“It’s a contract with the team (Aston Martin), so I can’t discuss it in detail,” Watanabe stated.

“But power unit suppliers bear expenses for development and manufacturing without receiving income from F1 due to the Concorde Agreement. 

“Additionally, in terms of marketing activities, the constructors primarily control the teams, limiting the authority of power unit suppliers until now.”

Watanabe highlighted the need to review the existing contract to address these concerns and create a more favourable environment for Honda’s continued participation in Formula 1. 

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He expressed the intention to increase opportunities for Honda to have a voice and collaborate with the team, thereby granting the company a stronger position.

“At the outset of our next project, we will reassess the contract in this area, increase the chances for us to express our views, and consult with the team to establish an environment that facilitates Honda’s ongoing commitment to F1,” added Watanabe.

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The proposed changes put forth by Watanabe aim to shield Honda’s racing subsidiary from the pressures of decision-making within the parent company. 

He suggested that these adjustments would serve as a stepping stone towards achieving self-sustaining profitability in the future.

“In the future, we should aim for self-supporting profitability, and you can think of it as the first step towards that,” Watanabe concluded.