Aston Martin‘s decision to switch to Honda power units from Mercedes in 2026 is seen as a strategic move by the team to take charge of its own destiny and end the reliance on the supplier that also competes against them on track. Aston Martin Performance Technologies CEO Martin Whitmarsh has admitted that this arrangement creates an “incompatibility” that can hinder the team’s pursuit of success. The Honda deal is the last piece of the puzzle for Aston Martin, which has made strides in hiring top engineers, building a new factory and wind tunnel, and fielding a competitive car that has often been the second-best on the grid this season.
Aston Martin‘s partnership with Mercedes has given the team access to the German supplier’s winning power unit, gearbox, and rear suspension package, which has allowed the team to focus on other aspects of car development. However, the team has not been able to consistently challenge the major players, namely Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull. To do so, Aston Martin must break free from Mercedes and create a new path, one that is not constrained by the architecture of someone else’s gearbox and suspension. The desire to control their own destiny in terms of power unit supply has been long espoused by teams, and Aston Martin has now followed suit.
McLaren‘s Ron Dennis had given an intriguing insight into his thinking in 2014 when he said that a team has no chance of winning a world championship if it is not receiving the best engines from whoever is manufacturing them. Dennis hinted that McLaren had not had the chance to use the Mercedes power unit to its full advantage due to a lack of access to data, and he even suggested that the team had not had “the best engines.” Aston Martin hopes that a works deal with Honda will give it full access to the source code of the Japanese manufacturer’s power unit and enable the team to fully integrate it with the car’s chassis package.
Aston Martin‘s decision to switch to Honda power units is a sign of the team’s ambition to win championships consistently. The move will allow the team to reap the benefits of full works Honda support, which will become more important than ever under the next set of regulations. The 2026 technical regulations will demand a substantial, full integration of the power unit and chassis worlds, making a full works relationship crucial for consistent success. Aston Martin is delighted to have Honda as a great partner to help them achieve their championship aspirations. “Team Silverstone has got a great tradition of delivering big bang for small bucks,” says Whitmarsh. “But we’re in a different position now, the Aston Martin brand, the ambition of Lawrence Stroll, and now great partners like Honda, we are here to win.”