F1: Willams has rejected both Porsche and Honda as 2026 engine partners
–by Mark Cipolloni–
It was rumored that Porsche wanted to team with Williams F1 in 2026 as engine supplier, but it wanted a controlling interest in the team, and they were rejected.
And now Williams team principal James Vowles has said Honda are not currently a “serious contender” to partner the team with power units from the 2026 season.
According to our sources, Toto Wolff released James Vowles to become the Williams F1 boss with zero gardening leave, which is unheard of in F1, with the handshake agreement Williams would remain a Mercedes engine customer in 2026 and beyond.
The more power units Mercedes supplies to customers, the more voting allies Wolff has in the F1 paddock.
“It’d be hard for me to comment because I’m not sure what [Honda] have facilities-wise,” Vowles told media in Saudi Arabia.
“But I think they’re a little bit further away from where they would need to be to be a serious contender,” because when they pulled out of F1, they shut down some of their F1 operations in Japan.
“We are at the moment still in the process of making sure we understand all the options available to this team,” Vowles explained.
“We’re not locked into Mercedes, and we’re still in the process of reviewing, but we have to come to a decision fairly shortly.
“I think the end of the year would be late. So, a little bit before then.”
All good talk to make it look good, but at the end of the day, we fully expect Williams will remain with Mercedes – some handshake deals actually mean something.