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Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, in the queue to leave the pits
Autosport Plus
Opinion

The future high-stakes F1 battle that could transform the pecking order

Honda’s move to link up with Aston Martin when Formula 1’s new engine regulations come into force in 2026 means that six teams will have full manufacturer backing. But will it make for better competition, MARK GALLAGHER ponders...

Honda’s decision to switch the volume control on its on-off Formula 1 strategy back up to full in 2026 raises interesting questions. Given Aston Martin’s impressive form this year, will it be an Aston Martin-Honda that breaks firmly into the winner’s circle in the new era, winning championships and ending the duopoly enjoyed
 by Mercedes and Red Bull? A domination which, with Brawn-Mercedes included, is now 15 years old.

The Japanese company has learned much since remarrying McLaren in 2015, divorcing three years later, then decamping to Red Bull where it started winning races and world championship titles. However, the competitive landscape within which Honda will partner Aston Martin in 2026 is rather different to now, or indeed the one in which the Aston Martin-sponsored Red Bull-Hondas came to prominence by winning a couple of races and finishing runner-up in the constructors’ championship in 2020. 

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