Rumor: McLaren and Honda talking for 2026 F1 engine
Christian Horner said that Red Bull did explore a potential F1 engine partnership with Honda for 2026 when its talks with Porsche broke down last year, but says a deal ultimately proved too complicated. They did do a deal to run Honda engines through the 2025 season
Now comes rumors, according to The Race, that both McLaren and Honda have made initial contact with each other about 2026 engine supply, but continue to explore other options as well. The communication between the teams is believed to be in a very early phase, but it remains to be seen if it goes any further.
McLaren criticized Honda extensively between 2015 and 2017 during which time McLaren driver Fernando Alonso called the Honda an F2 engine. They insulted the Japanese brand badly and Honda vowed never to supply engines to them again.
Perhaps time and money heal all wounds.
McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown revealed that the team was very happy with their current engine supplier Mercedes last November, so McLaren may have started this rumor to worry Toto Wolff into giving them a better customer engine deal come 2026.
Brown stated back then that they had a long-term deal with the German team and believed that they could win championships, adding:
“We’re very happy with Mercedes. I’m a believer that you can win a world championship with a customer engine. There’s obviously benefits to being a works team with the advanced knowledge that you get. We have a long-term contract with Mercedes, very happy with the collaboration, and aren’t really spending too much time yet thinking about 2026 and beyond.”