The big excitement in Formula One this week is the shock announcement that Honda will officially re-join the Formula One grid as an official engine supplier when the new rules are introduced in 2026.
The real surprise is that Honda engines will not be powering 2023's all-conquering Red Bull F1 team. In a huge development for the team, it will be Aston Martin F1 which will enjoy the benefits of all of Honda's vast F1 experience, plus all the stuff it has learned from the seasons it has partnered with Red Bull.
Honda has somewhat of a chequered history with Formula One.
The company first entered F1 in 1964, just four years after it produced its first road car. The company further startled the established F1 cadre by producing not only the engine, but also the chassis. The car was called the RA271, and after just one year of competition the RA272 (below) carried American Ritchie Ginther to victory in the 1965 Mexican GP.Since then, Honda has been in and out of both direct competition as a full factory team, and as an engine supplier.
In 2019 Honda signed with Red Bull to provide engines, and the team scored an important first victory at the 2019 Austrian GP.
In 2021 Honda withdrew, but agreed to provide assistance to Red Bull which manufactured the Honda engines under licence - an arrangement which was to run until 2025.
This is a major coup for the revitalised Aston Martin team, which has scored four podiums in the first five races for 2023.It also follows extensive 'poaching' of some highly-experienced engineering, design and logistical management from some of the top teams - many of whom defected from Red Bull.
Roll on 2026 - I'm certain there's more big changes to come!