Fernando Alonso explains Honda U-turn after extending F1 contract with Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso will remain at Aston Martin for 2026, when they begin their F1 partnership with Honda

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Fernando Alonso says he’s excited by Honda‘s turnaround from their McLaren failure to helping Red Bull dominate Formula 1, after he committed to continue at Aston Martin for the start of the team’s partnership with the Japanese manufacturer in 2026.

Honda powered McLaren for three of Alonso‘s four seasons in his second stint at Woking after both joined the team in 2015, but the relationship was rarely a happy one with Alonso infamously labelling their power unit a ‘GP2 engine’ at their home 2015 Japanese GP.

A Honda power unit failure also ended Alonso‘s best shot at winning the Indy500 in 2017, but they’ve enjoyed a much more successful partnership with Red Bull, playing a major part in their five world championships in the last three seasons despite officially leaving F1 after 2021.

They’re returning to sport under the new era of regulations starting in 2026 and will partner Aston Martin, while Alonso committed his future to the team for at least two more years.

Honda is definitely a manufacturer that’s had so much success in F1 and the whole of motorsport, it’s always a company that I respected,” Alonso told media outlets including Total-Motorsport.com.

“It didn’t work for us in McLaren in the years they came to the sport but right after that they fixed all the problems and they’re currently dominating the sport, been world champions for the last few years.

“So I think they will have a baseline for 2026 that’s already very strong but also they have the capacity in Sakura, I visited in 2014, 2015, 2016.

“I didn’t visit yet at the moment but I know they’re really really motivated there and obviously with the sustainable fuels that we’ll have in 2026, that’s something that I’ll love to experiment with, so I see a win-win situation.”

Alonso: 2026 will be a journey into the unknown

Alonso made three attempts at the Indy500 but after Honda split from McLaren in 2017, the last two were with the more uncompetitive Chevrolet power units having well and truly burned his bridges with Japan.

However, he did win the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice with Toyota and celebrated F1’s most recent trip to Suzuka with a special helmet at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, while this announcement confirms the two sides are back on the same page.

“I saw them, a few months ago not in Suzuka,” Alonso added. “Great love for Japan and for the things that they do there and I think the level of discipline and commitment that they have is just another level generally in Japan and it translates to Honda.

“I think 2026, we’re going into the unknown for sure in terms of regulations but if I have to choose one, my feeling is I’ll choose our project and our engine and our power unit.

“They’re dominating the sport now, they have a very strong engine on Red Bull and RB and second with the new fuels and regulations they will have all the tools available to succeed, this is how I think.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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