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Wolff: Aston Martin's Honda F1 switch does not show Mercedes engine has declined

Aston Martin ‘emancipating’ itself by agreeing a Honda engine deal for 2026 does not imply that the competitiveness of the Mercedes Formula 1 engine has declined, according to Toto Wolff.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, leads George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

The Silverstone squad - through its Force India, Racing Point and now Aston Martin guises - has used Mercedes power since 2009 to score one win, 14 podiums and two pole positions.

Aston Martin’s coming switch to Honda marks the first time a customer has broken ties with Mercedes since 2014.

But this decision is due to the benefits that a works deal gives Aston Martin, rather than any decline in the competitiveness of the Mercedes unit, reckons Silver Arrows F1 boss Wolff.

Asked by Autosport whether anything should be read into Aston Martin, which currently uses the Mercedes gearbox and wind tunnel also, moving on, Wolff said: “I don't think them switching from a Mercedes client situation to Honda has anything to do with the power unit.

“I think we're competitive in terms of the power unit, but they always wanted to emancipate themselves and become a true works team. That's what they're doing.

“They have their own exclusive power unit supply deal. They have their own fuel supplier, they are building a big factory that's going online in the next few months.

“Lawrence [Stroll, Aston Martin owner]’s aim is never small.

“I think when you want to be competitive and win championships, that is the kind of steps that you need to make.”

Lawrence Stroll, Toshihiro Sanbe,, president and CEO Honda Motor

Lawrence Stroll, Toshihiro Sanbe,, president and CEO Honda Motor

Photo by: Motorsport.com / Japan

The Honda deal will mean the Japanese manufacturer returns to F1 after announcing its exit during the 2020 season, shortly before its chassis partner Red Bull went on to claim back-to-back drivers’ championship titles and the 2022 constructors’ crown.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has also said that his team would “absolutely not” have created its own Powertrains company for 2026 had it been known that Honda would return.

The recently revealed Aston Martin alliance has also drawn attention as to what it means for the future of the road car company, given Mercedes can increase its stake in the manufacturer to 20% this year.

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Mercedes supplies engines and in-car entertainment to Aston Martin Lagonda.

Addressing any conflict created by Aston Martin now aligning itself with Honda in F1, Wolff said: “In terms of as a relationship on the road car side, that's a different platform.

“As Mercedes, we are delivering internals, organs, that is a business relationship.

“That's going to continue because obviously, that has long lead times that's going to continue for a while.

“Aston Martin is a brand to be proud of and this is why Mercedes will continue to be a partner.”

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