Honda will continue to supply power units to Formula 1 when the rules change for the 2026 season, but it will partner with a new racing team.
On Tuesday evening, Honda and Aston Martin announced Honda Racing Corporation will design, develop, and manufacture power units and supply them to the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant racing team for the 2026 Formula 1 season. Honda says it believes the power unit technology will have the potential to be applied to mass-produced vehicles.
Aston Martin will be responsible for the design of the rest of the car. Aston Martin currently uses Mercedes-Benz power units, and Honda currently supplies power units to the leading Red Bull Racing team, as well as AlphaTauri.
“One of the key reasons for our decision to take up the new challenge in F1 is that the world’s pinnacle form of racing is striving to become a sustainable racing series, which is in line with the direction Honda is aiming toward carbon neutrality, and it will become a platform which will facilitate the development of our electrification technologies," Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe said in a statement.
F1 will adopt new power unit rules for the 2026 season. The fuel will be 100% carbon neutral and the electric motor component will supply three times the power it does today. Formula 1 is developing the fuel with Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company, and plans to have it ready in time for that season.
Under the new rules, F1 cars will use a turbo 1.6-liter V-6 hybrid configuration, which is the current setup. The new power unit will eliminate the MGU-H motor-generator that recovers exhaust energy via the turbocharger. That leaves the MGU-K motor, which recuperates energy from the rear brakes, though it will make 469 hp versus today's 160 hp, increasing from about 20% of a 50/50 split with the engine.
One of the keys to performance will be the battery, which will need to be capable of delivering high power output quickly. In total, the power unit will still make about 1,000 hp, but with the increase in electric power fuel usage should fall from about 220 pounds today to 154 pounds.
F1's rules will also put a cost cap on the power unit's internal-combustion component, reduce dyno time, and limit each car to three power units per season.