Honda has raised speculation of its return as an engine supplier in Formula 1 after registering its interest with the Formula governing body FIA on engine regulations for the 2026 season.
The Japanese automaker exited the pinnaccle of motorsports at the end of the 2021 season having been part of Red Bull Racing’s push to win the Driver’s Championship with Max Verstappen. The move was to restructure itself in order to focus on electrification.
That said, the company continued to provide technical support in the powertrain department to the Red Bull Racing F1 team. The deal between Honda and Red Bull however, is set to expire by 2025, after the Milton Keynes-based team announced plans to develop its own power unit.
New power unit regulations are set to be introduced in Formula 1 by 2026 with the aim to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030. Honda could return either as an independent team or in partnership with the Red Bull Racing team but with talks between Porsche and Red Bull falling through, the latter seems more likely given the ongoing relationship.
That said, Honda Racing president was quick to address the speculation by saying that the registration of interest does not necessarily mean the company would rejoin Formula 1 by 2026. He pointed out that the registration was done in order to advance research in motorsports and is also in line with Honda Motor Company’s carbon neutrality and electrification efforts.
Should Honda make its formal return to the premier motorsport series, it would join the list of engine manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Renault and Audi.