There are ‘no objections whatsoever’ from Honda over the possibility of reuniting with Fernando Alonso despite a turbulent relationship between the two parties in the past.
It was announced this morning that Aston Martin and Honda will join forces in a works Formula 1 partnership that is set to begin in 2026.
Although Alonso’s current deal with Aston Martin does not cover 2026, the Spaniard has previously spoken about the possibility of continuing in F1 until at least the end of 2025.
Alonso had a rocky relationship with Honda from 2015-2017 when it powered McLaren. During this time, Alonso became increasingly critical of Honda.
His frustrations led to an infamous radio message at the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix where he vented about the “GP2 engine” that powered his McLaren.
Despite the fractious nature of their previous relationship with Alonso, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe stressed that Aston Martin will remain in control of driver selection and would not block an extension of Alonso’s contract with the team.
“We have been accelerating our development during our recent time in Formula 1 while working with Alonso, and that enabled us to win the world championship,” said Watanabe in response to questions from the media.
“The selection of drivers is up to the team to decide. So, if the team decides we’ll have Alonso as a driver again, we will have no objections whatsoever on him driving.”
While Aston Martin will make the final call on the team’s driver line-up, Honda will still make its opinions clear.
“We respect him [Alonso] highly,” Watanabe continued. “With respect to the driver selection, I will not say we’re not going to be involved in team management whatsoever but the decision of the drivers is up to the team.
“Of course we will be giving them suggestions or input.”
Honda CEO Toshiro Mibe echoed the thoughts of Watanabe saying that “the past is the past”.
Aston Martin group CEO Martin Whitmarsh insisted that Alonso’s place within the team was not discussed when the deal was being negotiated.
Whitmarsh also suggested that 2026 was too far off to be planned for, but that Alonso’s previous relationship with Honda would not jeopardise any potential reunion.
“Clearly Fernando is doing a great job and I’m delighted to have him as part of our team as he’s making a great contribution both on and off the track,” said Whitmarsh.
“I spoke to Fernando a while ago about the direction we wanted to go. He’s a very intelligent individual. I’m sure everyone here is referring to some comments that were made in the heat of the battle, which were quite memorable, but he understands and respects what Honda is doing.
“Honda won the 2021 and 2022 world championships and unless we can beat them this year, they’re going to do it again. So they are a great partner for us and I think Fernando sees that.
“2026 is probably outside his planning horizon at the moment.
“We’ve got to give him a car that is consistently capable of winning races. We’ve made a reasonable step forward this year, we’re not yet where we need to be but we’re continuing to develop the team’s facilities and we’ll get stronger.
“We’ll have a discussion before 2026, I’m sure, about where Fernando’s future lies. I hope he’ll be around for a number of years and it would be great if he’s as fit and competitive as he is today. Then it would be fantastic to have him in the car in 2026 as well.”
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