Honda’s tumultuous relationship with Formula 1 has taken another turn.

    Having re-entered with McLaren in 2015, been picked up by Red Bull and Alpha Tauri in 2019, and announced it would be moving in 2021 from an engine supplier to a technical partner in anticipation of a full withdrawal, Honda president Koji Watanabe said there’s a chance the brand will be back again.

    “For the time being, we would like to keep a close eye on where F1 is going and just see how things go,” Koji Watanabe said in a press conference, as reported by PistonHeads.

    Although he said Honda doesn’t have any “concrete plans” about a return, Mr Watanabe confirmed the brand has registered as a potential powertrain supplier from 2026 onwards.

    “We think F1’s future direction is in line with our target,” he said, according to PistonHeads. “That is why we have decided to register as a manufacturer of a power-unit.”

    New engine rules will come into force in 2026 in Formula 1. Engines will be powered by sustainable e-fuels, the electrical components in the engine will become significantly more powerful, and overall outputs are tipped to top 1000hp.

    Rejoining Formula 1 would represent a significant backflip for Honda, which said it was pivoting away from the sport to focus on its electrification targets.

    That hasn’t deterred the “multiple F1 teams” Mr Watanabe says have reached out to explore a partnership with Honda.

    Were it to return in 2026, Honda would be lining up alongside newcomers Audi and Ford on the F1 grid.

    The pair have recently committed to joining the sport, the former in partnership with Sauber as a works team and the latter as an engine partner for Red Bull.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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