Honda CEO Admits His Team ”Will Miss” Max Verstappen With the Inevitable Change in Alliance

Honda CEO Admits His Team ”Will Miss” Max Verstappen With the Inevitable Change in Alliance
Credits: IMAGO Laci Perenyi

Honda is officially ending its partnership with Red Bull at the end of the 2025 season. With the 2026 power unit-specific regulation reset set to kick in, the Japanese automobile manufacturers will be joining forces with Aston Martin in their latest chapter in Formula 1.

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With their illustrious association now ending, Honda’s CEO Koji Watanabe told Motorsport.com that they will miss three-time world champion Max Verstappen. Watanabe was quoted as saying, “We have a very good relationship with Max. The Honda employees love Max. We are proud to work with Max and will miss him in the future.”

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Honda’s partnership with Red Bull came to fruition after the former had a disastrous stint with McLaren in the early days of the turbo-hybrid era. However, with Red Bull, Honda have gone on to win three Drivers’ championships and two Constructors’ titles.

What really made their success iconic was how Honda ended Mercedes’ monopoly on the power-unit side of things. The Silver Arrows had romped to eight consecutive Constructors’ titles from 2014 to 2021. But with Verstappen’s triumph in 2021, since 2022 Honda have taken Mercedes’ place as the leading engine supplier in the sport.

Their success is still on the up, however. After last year’s record-breaking year, the Milton-Keynes-based team powered by Honda’s engine IP is on course to picking up yet another pair of titles this season. Furthermore, 2025 is likely to witness another year of domination by Verstappen and Red Bull.

Why did Honda leave Red Bull for Aston Martin?

It was announced last year that Honda were formally terminating their partnership with Red Bull to start supplying power units to Aston Martin from the 2026 season onwards. This decision came around the time Red Bull announced Ford as their official engine partners and Aston Martin terminated their own deal with Mercedes – all due to take effect from 2026.

Koji Watanabe has also revealed that since they announced their re-entry into the sport, “we have been contacted by multiple Formula 1 teams,” as per Sky Sports F1. That being said, the project at Aston Martin seems to have grabbed their attention the most for now.

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The motivations for choosing Aston Martin seem to be focused around building a long-term project that would not only see the Silverstone-based outfit transform into a Honda-works team but also aid the Japanese automobile giants’ push into integrating F1-tech into their mass-production cars as per The Japan Times.

Moreover, the philosophy the two entities have in terms of their own ambitions to win in F1 seem to be aligned according to The Race. Both Aston Martin and Honda are willing to invest huge amounts of money with the hope that their investments will help the team win titles.

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