Is Yuki Tsunoda joining Aston Martin? Inside Honda’s bold move

Honda has openly expressed its aspiration for a Japanese driver to be behind the wheel of a Honda-powered Formula 1 car under the upcoming 2026 regulations.

As of now, the power units for the quartet of Red Bull’s F1 vehicles bear the name ‘Honda RBPT’, a nomenclature reflecting Red Bull’s latest powertrains initiative.

“The reason for that is because the battery units manufactured by Honda are assembled by RBPT,” revealed Yasuharu Watanabe, president of Honda Racing Corporation.

“After 2021, our professional staff moved to Red Bull Powertrains and so they now have the know-how to develop ESS (energy storage systems) at the same level as Honda.

“However, the batteries from 2026 onwards will be completely different.”

Following the conclusion of their ‘works’ association with Red Bull in 2021, Honda has planned to form a totally new works partnership with Aston Martin from 2026 onwards.

This new collaboration appears to surpass both Honda’s prior venture with Red Bull and the unsuccessful attempt with McLaren—memorably critiqued by Fernando Alonso as a “GP2 engine”.

Alonso, now to be reunited with Honda, commented in Shanghai: “Well, they are winning the championship now, so they are demonstrating that they have the discipline and the work that is needed to succeed in Formula 1.”

Honda is currently in the process of selecting a UK location for a new European F1 headquarters.

“We want to start recruiting as early as June, and then there is gardening leave and so on,” president Watanabe disclosed to as-web.jp, a specialist Japanese source. “The location of HRC UK has not yet been decided.”

Meanwhile, the confirmation of a second driver for Aston Martin in 2025 remains pending, even though Lance Stroll, the team owner’s son, is the most likely candidate.

Honda has been a longstanding supporter of Yuki Tsunoda throughout his F1 journey, currently under Honda-RBPT at Red Bull’s junior team RB.

“Entering our fourth year, I feel that he has become more calm than ever,” observed president Watanabe. “Not only on the radio but also in normal conversation. He really has changed.”

While Watanabe acknowledges that Tsunoda’s transition to Aston Martin would be logical, he maintains an open perspective regarding the driver’s future.

“I have said to him ‘You don’t have to stay with Honda forever’,” Watanabe explained. “So even if our partnership with the Red Bully family ends in 2025, there will be no problem for us whether he stays at RB or moves.”

“If there is an opportunity for him to come to Aston Martin, of course we would welcome it,” the president from Japan added. “I want him to choose the best option for him.”

GMM

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