Honda started supplying powertrains to Toro Rosso (now Scuderia Alpha Tauri) in 2018 before moving up the ladder to supply engines to Red Bull Racing in 2019. RBR won the Drivers' Championship title in 2021 with Max Verstappen, and at the end of the season, Honda ended its F1 participation. Well, sort of. In 2022, the Japanese automaker began providing technical support to RBR, helping them win the Drivers' and Constructors' Championship titles.
Honda will return as a powertrain supplier in 2026 but not with RBR as the latter is collaborating with Ford. Instead, Aston Martin and Honda have reached an agreement to work together from 2026 when many rules are set to change. The F1 cars will use three times more electrical power than now while the turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 will run on completely synthetic fuel. The hybrid powertrains are still expected to have over 1,000 horsepower and might be even louder.
From 2026, the hybrid component of the powertrain – known as MGU-K (or Kinetic Motor Generator Unit) – is expected to account for 470 horsepower (350 kilowatts), so roughly half the total output. Honda says the lessons learned while developing the new powertrain for Aston Martin will be put to good use on road-going cars, including an "electric flagship sports model." The company has already suggested the NSX will return for a third generation as an EV.
As a refresher, Porsche tried to ink a deal with Red Bull. However, the Zuffenhausen-based automaker wanted a 50:50 arrangement, which the F1 team refused. Despite the setback, Porsche still wants to join the world’s most prestigious racing series from 2026. Part of the same Volkswagen Group, Audi will enter F1 with Sauber.