F1: Several teams pursuing Honda power units in 2026

Honda says it has already been approached by several Formula 1 teams about a 2026 engine deal, including McLaren, Williams and Panthera Asia.

Speaking at a pre-season press conference in Japan on Monday, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe said the company remained ‘curious’ about F1’s direction, as dialogue had opened with teams about a potential deal.

Yasuaki Asaki (above), Honda’s MD of automobile racing development (the leader of the F1 project), is leaving the firm. He will be replaced by Ikuo Takeishi. Asaki has announced his departure from Honda, the company said in a press release in Japan. Asaki is retiring.

“Formula 1 is greatly shifting towards electrification, and carbon neutrality is our corporate-wide target at Honda,” he said. “We think that F1’s future direction is in line with our target, so that is why we have decided to register as the manufacturer of a power unit.”

F1’s 2026 regulations appear to be compatible with Honda’s targets though, as the hybrids will be run on 100% sustainable and synthetic fuels and the energy recovery systems will have a significant increase in electrical power output.

“We’re curious about where F1 is going; F1 being the top racing category and how is that going to look with more electrification happening? We would like to keep a very close eye on that. And that is why we have decided to register as a PU manufacturer.

“After we made the registration, we have been contacted by multiple F1 teams. For the time being, we would like to keep a close eye on where F1 is going and just see how things go. For now, we don’t have any concrete decisions on whether we will be going back to joining F1.

“But, from the perspective of technological development, we think that knowing that this is being part of F1 is going to help us with technological development. So that is where we are.”

Asked why discussions about continuing with Red Bull from 2026 had been a failure, Watanabe replied: “It was not a failure. We never really saw that as any failure of any sort.

“As a technical partner, we’re always in contact with Red Bull. So, there are many topics that we discuss and many that we have discussed.

“But out of this dialogue, it was decided that we will not continue this partnership beyond 2025. So, there’s nothing that’s fixed from 2026. It is as simple as that.”

Watanabe said: “As a symbol of continued partnership with Red Bull group, both team’s machines will continue to carry Honda and the HRC logos, and it has been decided that the name Honda will be added to the PU manufacturer’s name and power unit name.

“The PU manufacturer name will be changed to Honda RBPT. And the power unit name will be changed to Honda RBPT H001 for the 2023 season.”