F1 engine 2026: Honda enters without Red Bull

Honda has registered as the engine manufacturer for the 2026 Formula 1 season. But the Japanese no longer want to ally themselves with their current partner Red Bull. Honda is looking for a new team.

Since this season, Honda has only been in Formula 1 at half strength. The Japanese carmaker has officially left the premier class. Nevertheless, the engines in the Red Bull will continue to come from Sakura, Japan, until the end of 2025. They are only on loan to Red Bull Powertrains. At first, the drive units could not even be called Honda. That changed after the Japanese GP. Honda also wanted some of the glory of GP wins and world titles.

The Japanese manufacturer can't get away from Formula 1. On the contrary. Honda has obviously tasted blood again through the many successes with Red Bull. It was evident to the bosses what a positive effect comes from victories and world titles. And that the plug had been pulled too soon. In any case, the desire for a real return to the premier class is growing at the group headquarters.

Which team for Honda?

The plans are now taking concrete shape. In any case, Honda has registered pro forma for the new engine generation from 2026, although an official comeback has not yet been communicated. But you already have your foot in the door. The new engine formula with an electric content of around 50 percent and synthetic fuel for the six-cylinder combustion engine makes Formula 1 attractive again for the Japanese car giant.

The main reason for the exit in 2021 was to be able to focus on the development and construction of electric cars. With the increased share of electronics from 2026, a re-entry with technology transfer can be well justified. The nomination costs one million euros per year. For a possible comeback, however, Honda will have to look for a new partner from 2026. You will no longer ally yourself with Red Bull. You would only be a junior partner there. RB Powertrains builds the internal combustion engine itself. The electrical part is not enough for Honda. Now Honda is looking for a team. You can choose between Alpha Tauri, Williams, McLaren or Aston Martin.

Red Bull itself could aim for a cooperation with the American manufacturer Ford. According to rumours, however, the new engine division will build the entire drive train on its own. Ford could step in as a financier - and operate its own marketing machine with a badge for the power unit.

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