Honda set for 2026 F1 return as Red Bull moves to Ford power: Reports

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice
Honda branding on the Oracle Red Bull Racing car in the garage during practice ahead of the 2022 F1 Japanese Grand Prix (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

After Red Bull launched their new car for the 2023 F1 season and announced their partnership with Ford starting in 2026, the FIA also finalized a list of engine suppliers that will be entering the sport in 2026. Apart from Ford, Audi, and other regular engine manufacturers, Honda was also mentioned on the list.

Back in 2020, Honda was supplying engines to Red Bull but decided to withdraw from the sport to reduce their carbon footprint. However, they didn't leave the Austrian team on their own and promised to help develop the current powertrains until 2025. This left Red Bull without a solid engine supplier in 2026. Hence, the team planned to gradually start building their own F1 powertrains.

Six engine manufacturers have registered for the 2026 @F1 world championship according to @fia today. Honda in there, while Ford align with the Red Bull programme.

Fast forward to 2023, the team announced that they would be partnering with Ford. The deal will expand their commercial reach in the US and will also provide help from Ford's technical department to develop power units for 2026.

Though Honda is also returning to the sport in 2026, it is safe to say that Red Bull will no longer be working with them. This leaves the Japanese automotive giant with a massive issue. As of now, Honda does not have a partnership with any team for 2026, as every F1 team is now set with their engine manufacturers.

Mercedes, Ferrari, and Alpine manufacture their own power units. Red Bull and AlphaTauri will work with Ford to create power units. McLaren, Aston Martin, and Williams will take the engines from Mercedes. Audi will take on Alfa Romeo and bring their own power units. Finally, Haas will take the engines from Ferrari.

So Red Bull had Renault engines called Tag Heuer but were title sponsored by Aston Martin. Then Honda but still with an Aston Martin title sponsor. Then Honda left, then Red Bull Porsche was rumoured, then Honda returned and now it’s going to be Red Bull Ford.

The only way for Honda to use their power units in F1 is by either creating their own team and trying to enter the sport or making a deal with an existing team that might want to change engine suppliers in the future. As of yet, there has been no official statement from Honda regarding this issue.

FIA announces all the engine suppliers for the 2026 F1 season and beyond

The FIA recently released an official statement announcing that all six engine manufacturers will be supplying power units to F1 teams from 2026 to 2030. The announcement was made right after Red Bull revealed that they will be partnering with Ford after 2026.

In its official statement, the FIA stated:

“The FIA today, 3 February, confirms that six manufacturers have registered as Power Unit Suppliers for the 2026-2030 seasons of the FIA Formula One World Championship onwards. These are Alpine Racing, Audi, Ferrari S.p.A., Honda Racing Corporation, Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains Ltd, and Red Bull Ford.”
FIA Confirms 2026 Formula 1 Power Unit Supplier [email protected]…

Though rumors about Hyundai joining the sport are still making the rounds, nothing has been confirmed by the South Korean automotive giant.

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Edited by Anurag C
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