Honda’s stance on Fernando Alonso reunion after Aston Martin star savaged engine

Aston Martin reveals its 2023 Grand Prix challenger

Honda bosses have “no objections” to working with Fernando Alonso despite the Spaniard’s previous criticism of the Japanese manufacturer. Honda and Aston Martin will join forces for 2026, bringing their power units to the British manufacturer.

However, Honda has confirmed driver selection would be determined by the team members with executives not expected to get involved. Koji Watanabe, president of the Honda Racing Corporation, even praised Alonso despite his previous attacks.

Watanabe remarked: “Our stance remains unchanged in thinking the selection of the drivers is fully up to the team members and not something that a partner and supplier like us is supposed to be making. So, we’ll be leaving the driver selection to the team.

“We have been accelerating our development during all our recent time in Formula One. (including) while working with Alonso, and that enabled us to win the World Championship.

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“I believe he’s such a brand and respectable driver, but, like I said, the selection of drivers is up to the team to decide. So, if the team decides we’ll have Alonso as a driver again, we will have no objections whatsoever in him driving.”

Alonso drove for a Honda-powered car at McLaren for three seasons between 2015 and 2017. He issued a range of stinging criticism including branding the Honda power unit a GP2 engine at their home race in Suzuka.

The double world champion even suggested he had “never raced with less power” and called out the lack of reliability. Alonso’s current deal runs until the end of 2024 but the team have stressed they “hope” he will stick around for a “number of years”.

Alonso appeared unphased by Honda’s arrival with Aston Martin bosses suggesting they had held talks with the 41-year-old.

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Martin Whitmarsh, Aston Martin’s performance technologies group CEO, stressed Alonso now “respects” Honda’s progress. He explained: “Obviously I spoke to Fernando a while ago about the direction we wanted to go, he’s a very intelligent individual.

“I’m sure everyone here is referring to some comments that were made in the heat of the battle, once, which were quite memorable for some, but I think he understands and respects what Honda is doing.

“We’ve got to be aware – and we haven’t said it, but we should say it – Honda won the 2021 and 2022 world championships and unless we can beat them this year they’re going to do it again.

“So, they are a very great partner for us, and I think Fernando sees that. 2026, who knows, it’s probably outside his planning horizon, at the moment.”

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