Honda was impressed by the leadership of Lawrence Stroll: ‘We want to compete for the title from 2026’

Honda was impressed by the leadership of Lawrence Stroll: ‘We want to compete for the title from 2026’

The president of the Honda Racing Organization Koji Watanabe says that Honda has a big goal to compete for the title once in 2026. They will do this together with Aston Martin. Honda was impressed with what team owner Lawrence Stroll has built at Silverstone and is confident that the partnership will go well.

The Japanese engine supplier and Aston Martin will work together from 2026. Until the end of 2025, Honda will remain with Red Bull Racing, which will work together with Ford. Honda was approached by several teams, but in the end chose to continue with Aston Martin as the dawn of a new era of Formula 1. “I can’t name the exact number of teams, but we have been approached by several teams,” Watanabe confirmed in a conversation with the Dutch branch of ‘Some we only spoke to once, and other teams several times.’

For Honda, Aston Martin remained the only option. “We were very impressed with Stroll’s enthusiasm and leadership for the title in 2026,” the Japanese said. ‘They are investing a lot of money in the new Silverstone factory. It is still under construction at the moment, but we have visited it several times. We also spoke to Martin Withmarsh and Mike Krack, so for Aston Martin management. They are very open and the whole team is working in the same direction. The team is a unit and that is what we consider very important.’

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From 2026, the Honda logo will also appear on Aston Martin cars. (Photo: Pirelli)

Stroll’s ambitions played a key role in Honda’s decision to work with the British racing team. “We don’t really talk about technical details. We care more about his strong leadership. Stroll and our CEO Mibe talk a lot together and we feel that we can be good partners for each other,” Watanabe continues. The Canadian does not hide his ambitions. “We want to be world champions from 2026. That is the goal. We know that it will be difficult in practice, but we have to set ourselves such goals to get the best results together.’

Open and honest conversations to ‘be a top team together’

Aston Martin is still not a top team, and Honda knows that too. Watanabe points out that his team is also paying close attention to his performance. In addition, completely new regulations, including changes to the chassis, also provide new opportunities. “We need to look at ourselves and realize what is still missing, from Aston Martin’s perspective in relation to Honda and from Aston Martin itself,” says Watanabe. ‘This requires open and honest dialogue to ultimately be a top team together.’

These conversations take place mainly in what Watanabe calls a “steering committee,” made up of executives from both companies. “We started immediately with a technical working group and a driver group. I’m also on that steering group with Martin Whitmarsh, Mike Krack and other key people. All Aston Martin and Honda employees are represented to discuss together the most important aspects The announcement of our partnership was in May, when the leadership group met for the first time in July.’ Finally, Watanabe indicates that all preparations for 2026 are going according to plan.

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