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Honda has “no objections” over Alonso despite chequered F1 past

Honda would have “no objections whatsoever” to Fernando Alonso racing with its Formula 1 engines if he ends up staying at Aston Martin beyond 2025.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 3rd position, celebrates on the podium with his trophy

The Japanese manufacturer announced that it will become Aston Martin’s works partner from 2026, after committing to a formal return to F1 just three years after it revealed plans to leave.

The Aston Martin deal means there is the possibility of a renewed association with Alonso, who has had a chequered past with Honda.

The Spaniard endured the brunt of Honda’s initial struggles when it made a comeback to F1 with McLaren in 2015.

At the Japanese Grand Prix that year, and in front of Honda’s senior management, Alonso famously delivered the radio message “GP2 engine, aaaarrgggh” amid his ongoing frustrations with its problems.

Alonso later expressed regret about using those words, but the incident has become iconic in framing the situation he found himself in at the time.

While Honda bosses were far from impressed with Alonso’s remarks, its current chiefs are clear that there are no lingering hard feelings over the matter.

Asked if Honda would allow Alonso to race one of its cars, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe said: "If we are to team up with Alonso again, as our driver, we have no objections whatsoever in him driving.”

Alonso’s presence at Aston Martin in to 2026 is not guaranteed though, as he will be 45 that year. However, the double world champion is showing no signs of lacking commitment or speed right now.

Martin Whitmarsh, Group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, explained that Alonso’s presence in the team was never a discussion point with Honda despite the history between them.

“No, it wasn't,” he said. “Clearly Fernando's doing a great job in the team, and we are delighted to have him as part of our team. He's making a great contribution both on and off the track.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30 Honda, pulls off the track with engine problems

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30 Honda, pulls off the track with engine problems

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“Obviously I spoke to Fernando a little while ago about the direction that we intended to go. He's a very intelligent individual.

“I'm sure everyone is referring to some comments that were made, probably in the heat of battle, once, which were quite memorable, I suppose, for some. But I think he understands and respects what Honda are doing.”

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Whitmarsh suggested that Alonso was well aware that Honda’s current status in F1, as championship winners with Red Bull, was a world away from its first foray in the turbo hybrid era with McLaren.

He added: “Honda won the ‘21 and ‘22 world championships and, unless we can beat them this year, they're going to do it again. So they are a very great partner for us. And I think Fernando sees that.

“But 2026 is probably outside his planning horizon at the moment. We've got to give him a car that can consistently win races. We've made a reasonable step forward this year, but we're not yet where we need to be.

“We are continuing to develop the team, the facilities, and we'll get stronger. And we'll have a discussion before 2026 I'm sure about Fernando, where Fernando is, and what his future lies.

"I hope he'll be around for a number of years and it will be great if he's as fit and as competitive as he is today. Then it would be a fantastic to have him in the car in 2026 as well.”

Honda has said that it does not intend to get involved in any driver decisions at Aston Martin.

Watanabe explained: “Our stance remains unchanged and I think the selection of race drivers is fully up to the team, and not something that a power unit supplier like us is supposed to be making. We will be leaving the driver selection to the team.”

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