Honda and Aston Martin

Formula 1 continues to create bizarre bedfellows, with the news that Honda and Aston Martin are going into a dalliance in 2026… presumably without Fernando Alonso, who has been persona non grata with the Japanese firm since they fell out of love during the McLaren-Honda debacle a few years back.

It is a bizarre mismatch of brands, a bit like a duchess marrying a coal miner, but needs must. Aston Martin needs an engine supplier of its own, but cannot afford to do its own thing, and Honda needs a team that will be vaguely competitive with which it hasn’t previously fallen out…

The team will be called an Aston Martin Aramco Honda. Such an alliance should make team boss Lawrence Stroll wince, as a brand expert from the fashion world, because it’s not dissimilar to Louis Vuitton selling its suitcases in Walmart, but I guess it proves that the brand is not really what matters but rather the whole point of the F1 programme is make Lance Stroll into a World Champion.

The Aston Martin brand, for all we know, could be owned by Geely by 2026, although the racing team has a licence to use the name and a stipend from the car company for many years to come…

Who knows, perhaps the 2026 Honda Civic will be branded as the Honda Aston?

57 thoughts on “Honda and Aston Martin

  1. Gearbox? Rear suspension?

    How many parts does Aston Martin get now from Mercedes that they will have to design and build themselves?

    Is that an advantage or disadvantage?

    1. Martin Whitmarsh, apparently, addressed the issue of gearbox and rear suspension in the announcement and admitted it would be a challenge, but a necessary one if they are to fulfil their Chairman’s ambitions.

  2. Proof indeed that Alonso won´t be around with AM in 2026. Though I remain fully with Fernando on the career-destroying shambles which was Honda´s F1 program with McLaren. If Honda cannot stand heat, the company should stay away from kitchens and F1.

    Do you remember the Aston Martin Cygnet? Some AM marketing genius thought that badging the dreadfully mis-conceived Toyota !Q as an Aston Martin with a witheringly high price tag would help create volume and carbon offsets for Aston. The project collapsed quickly, though ironically the few units sold now command high prices as collector items. But so does Titanic memorabilia….

  3. I remember visiting the factory when there were lots of Toyota IQs, sorry, Aston Martin Cygnets, in the car park….

    So perhaps a rebranding of a sporty Civic isn’t so silly, or an “entry level” Aston with Honda underpinnings. It can’t be as bad as the Ford years were for Aston and JLR.

    1. I have a Jaguar XJR-S from the Ford era. It is light years away from the junk that Jaguar produced previously. Ford’s investment in new technology for the Jaguar brand was in sharp contrast to the XJ6 and XJ12 I owned before.

      1. I was one of the people who to come in to clean up the post Ford mess. Perhaps it was a stage they had to go through. Sadly they seem to have lost their way again

  4. Given the history of Honda in Formula 1 over the last 35 years and its ability to do frequent 180° turns that they would be singularly focused on one driver who made one negative comment in 9 years before the deal commences. Literally no one cares about this other than journalists who cannot resist bringing it up over and over again. Fernando will not be a problem if he chooses to stay they want a winner and a winning team. Oh yeah bye bye Toto! I hope they’re open to adding a second team it would be great for a Williams Honda again and to leave Toto hanging in the dark by himself.

    1. So why the bitter feelings towards Wolff? He always comes across as a pretty straightforward and decent man? Maybe you prefer Horner who utterly lacks class when he opens his mouth?

      Alonso is not a team player when the chips are down. I’d mark this agreement as karma for him just when he got back into a half competitive car too.

      Joe’s comments on this mismatch are as usual a great summary. So Mercedes supply the engines, etc to the F1 team, and Merc supply engines and tech to Aston road cars, and they’re part owned by Geely. So…. Let’s get into bed with Honda – zero fit, and many conflicts of brands.

      They couldn’t have gone with Williams – bitter history and dreadful cars for many years. McLaren too much recent history. All other teams manufacturer based, or uncompetitive. Zero choice apart from Aston sadly.

      If they develop a car 6/10th faster than anyone else, and a subservient teammate for Stroll Jnr then maybe he can win a WDC. Would add to the list of champions who weren’t top notch – Button – Rosberg Jnr (team mate in lucky), Button (great car), Raikonnen (team mate help), Hill (great car), etc.

        1. Of course not. Kimi was very good for a short time, and then bang average for many years at the end of his career, keeping better drivers out of prime seats. Less said about his rude personality the better.

          Stroll is not F1 material, and never will be. Good vs 99% of race drivers in all classes, but clearly is off the pace in F1.

        1. Yeah, the old memory trick thing. Without looking it up I was sure his Indy attempt was during his F1 hiatus. Zac Brown allowed it whereas Ron Dennis would probably have refused.

    1. I think you’ll find that was before he fell out with them… afterwards he could only use Dallara-Chevrolets. Check it out if you don’t believe me. I did!

        1. Oh yes. The thing that few understand is loss of face in Japan. You never cause a Japanese to lose face…

          1. I fully concur with you, the loss of face especially among the Northern Asian cultures is more important than money ever will. It is considered a disgrace to one’s ancestors!

        2. Honda spent billions on F1 and had an “employee” publicly shame them. Any other business he’d have been sacked. Alonso great when things going well, not so much when things are tough.

      1. 100% correct Joe, the other fella has his years slightly wrong. He drove for Andretti in 2017. You will know more but it seemed like an olive branch to allow him to miss Monaco to do that because the F1 programme was not going to plan. In 2018 he did not race at Indy and this was when the Honda relationship appeared to go from bad to irreconcilable. He was going to drive for Andretti again in 2019 but Honda vetoed that and he had to drive the McLaren effort with a Chevy engine and did not qualify. In 2020, again with McLaren he made his third attempt . I hope it’s not his last.

  5. Hang on a min there! Didn’t Honda turn themselves into Red Bull with the Honda engine becoming a Red Bull branded in-house project for the future?

    I do not even remember the Aston Martin Cygnet, my memories are some what older, pipe smoking craftsmen persuading aluminium sheets to conform to templates, and never to try and push an Aston Martin Lagonda should it break down, as the bodywork can be paper thin in places. (Of course the legendary Evostick boot explosion)

    1. The whole ‘Honda leaving F1’ thing seems to have been little more than a ploy by RBR to get the FIA to freeze PU development on the grounds that as an ‘independent manufacturer’ it wouldn’t be fair because they don’t have the same resources as Mercedes, Ferrari or Renault.
      The ploy worked though because RBR got exactly what they wanted – a ban on Merc being able to further develop their already mighty PU.
      If it wasn’t a ploy, then it was a very big coincidence that shortly after the ban was introduced, RBR and Honda announced that they wouldn’t be leaving exactly as previously stated – but would gradually morph from Honda to RB Powertrains!!

  6. Stroll has failed with Aston Martin Lagonda, the car company. He, his consortium and shareholders have all lost much money, the cars remain out of date and the transition to EV will kill them (again).

    Surprisingly Geely seem happy to take the brand off his hands and will probably take control next year. But by 2026, Stroll need not worry about the Aston Martin brand being polluted by Honda as he will most likely only control Aramco Honda F1.

    1. Give the guy a chance. He only took it over 2 years ago. Aston Martin has never made money in its history, so it will take more than 2 year to turn it around.

  7. All it needs now is to sign up Johnson to do the F1 PR !
    He exited his house this morning with the tail of his shirt hanging out of his pants, dear god he used to be PM ! GREAT Britain !
    I don’t much enjoy the current Americanisation of F1 though suspect it is inevitable but hope it may be moderated if the rest of the world coughs on it.
    Honda marketing always seems to be very erratic and lacking in forethought and planning. Really their only stable time was the glory days with McLaren, Prost and Senna.
    Still it all gives all of us something to wonder over and chuckle at.
    I think Lance Stroll is a better driver than his detractors allow but Fernando, who manages to ignore all of his detractors, is showing what it actually requires to be a WDC.

  8. At one time they said he would never drive for McLaren again but…
    “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,” Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe insisted.

    1. Yes but Watanabe is not the boss of Honda… just a small division. He does what he’s told…

      1. I was working on the assumption that the PR department would have discussed the Alonso question, that was inevitably going to come up. And Watanabe was expressing the corporations view on the matter.

  9. I was somewhat enthused by the prospect of an ‘Aston Martin Lagonda’ (road car) revival: With Mercedes-Benz underpinnings, parts, and engines, allied to a successful F1 programme (second in the Constructors’ Championship counts as relative success in my book), it was beginning to look like this Great British Brand might just manage to revive itself under Stroll.

    This now looks doubtful and (as Joe astutely speculates) Geely ownership of AM from 2026 seems probable, as such a timeline seems realistic for a) Lance needing retire from F1, and b) Lawrence being able to sell the whole operation at a handsome profit.

    I’m glad that I didn’t buy those shares after all…

    1. crystal balls often balls up, but it’s so much fun speculating.

      here’s some things I think about this:

      – geely have done a great job with volvo, polestar and lotus, why not add aston martin to that list?

      – honda is a world unto itself – japan, despite the hi tech image, it’s a country where people use fax machines regularly.

      papa stroll on the other hand, he’s smart. hi/lo collaborations are in. the aston martin badge is, as always, just another label. it can be replaced with something else.

      did someone say lotus?

  10. Other reliable sources (eg. Motorsport) are reporting that Honda has no issues with Alonso.

        1. Indeed although he is highly unlikely to be in an F1 seat after 2025..
          Look, Alonso is no more abrasive than the likes of Mansell, Senna or Prost were when they were clearly very ‘demanding’ drivers.
          No top team ever turned them down IIRC?

          1. Yup, the races were much longer and sadly many participants died.
            and I’m set to overtake Mme Jeanne Calment as the oldest ever. Gee thanks !

  11. So presumably Lance in one seat and a non threatening Japanese driver in the other?

    If Lance is to become champion, either he needs an unprecedented level of “late developer” improvement, or to sit in a car that is consistently 1 to 1.5 seconds clear of the field, with a compliant number two.

  12. It’s news to me that Honda’s brand image is that of a coal miner among the aristocrats in Formula One! But maybe that’s because I have had very little interest in road cars, but a 40-year fascination with motor racing. In my mind, Honda conjures up thoughts of excellence in motorsport engines especially, with a vague background image of widespread smallish road cars. Whereas Aston Martin, to me, suggests old Sean Connery movies and even older black-and-white pictures from Le Mans… I wouldn’t have been sure that Aston Martin even existed in any present-day form until Racing Point re-named itself eighteen months ago. So, from this one viewer’s perspective, the coal miner might be slumming it by marrying that duchess…

    1. Honda’s engine superiority was acknowledged for many years as was Ferrari in the past.
      In recent times it took an awfully long time and, no doubt, vast expenditure, for their F1 engine to match its peers and in Moto GP it seems they have relied far too much on the brilliance of Marc Marquez.
      I’ve never really understood the reputation of Aston Martin. The company has had an incredibly chequered history bolstered by Commander Bond. I suspect its Britishness is appreciated more here than elsewhere. Technically they have always been behind the curve but I do love the noise of the 12 !

  13. It’s not at all a bizarre mismatch, any more than McLaren-Honda was, Aston Martin-Red Bull-Renault was, or McLaren-Mercedes and Aston Martin-Mercedes is.
    Aside from the obvious and irresistible competitive and financial imperatives, the example of LV + Walmart is a little silly – Lawrence Stroll knows perfectly well what the benefits of brand collaborations are, when managed correctly. In principle Luxury Brand + Other Category Brand are ideal collaborative bedfellows, especially when you understand the true nature of the people who may be interested in purchasing both Aston Martin and Honda products.

    1. I’m with Joe on this one.

      The F1 Honda tie-up only makes sense once Geely takes Aston Martin Lagonda off Stroll’s hands, which is likely next year. For a big loss to Stroll and his Bamford consortium.

    2. Mclare-Honda was when McLaren made racing cars and Honda made road cars, it was the natural progression from McLaren-Ford Cosworth or any team with a Ford Cosworth.

      Aston Martin Red Bull Honda or Aston Martin Honda does sound illogical, but formula one is no longer garagista’s bolting an engine into a chassis made in a spit and sawdust timber yard or de-consecrated church

      Now it’s all about cash

  14. The Omega / Swatch brand mash up has surprised many experts by increasing the demand for the expensive brand.

    1. I came very close to buying an Omega moon watch a couple of decades ago, would be worth 4x that price now. The Swatch versions had a huge increase in price on first release as touts moved to corner the market. It has simmered down since. But watch buying is a fickle, and managed market, much like speculation in the new, hotly announced Ferrari/Porsche/Pagani/Bugatti/…

  15. By 2025, Lawrence Stroll will probably work out that Lance is not going to win the World Championship. Honda will take Aston Martin F1 off his hands and turn it into the Honda works F1 team, while Geely will takeover the Aston Martin road car company. It is his exit strategy.

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