Japanese car manufacturer Honda has recently announced that it is considering a formal return to Formula 1 for the first time since 2021. In 2026, new engine regulations will be introduced, which Honda says is the perfect opportunity to make their comeback in the racing world.
The car company’s engines were used by the two Red Bull teams in 2021 and are set to be used again in 2023. Honda president Koji Watanabe said the new rules were appealing, aligning with Honda’s corporate strategy, and “Formula 1 is greatly shifting towards electrification. Given that, carbon neutrality is our corporate-wide target at Honda so we think F1’s future direction is in line with our target.”
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Honda is reportedly being pursued by multiple teams since it registered for the 2026 Formula 1 engine rules. The Japanese manufacturer has been reconsidering its decision to quit the sport and has shown interest in the next engine rules cycle with the FIA. McLaren and Williams are among the interested parties, according to The Race. This raises the prospect of a surprise reunion between McLaren and Honda, who had a spectacular fallout across 2015-2017. Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe said that several teams have approached Honda, but for now, they are keeping a close eye on where Formula 1 is going.
The possibility of a reunion between McLaren and Honda has sent shockwaves throughout the F1 world. The drama between the two organizations was intense, with both parties blaming each other for the failures of their partnership. However, the prospect of a second chance at success is tantalizing for both teams.
Honda’s decision to officially withdraw from F1 at the end of 2021 was made on the basis that it wanted to divert resources towards pursuing carbon-neutrality. But with a new president in place and more clarity on the 2026 rules, Honda seems to be ready to make a comeback.