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Verstappen: Honda deal with Aston 'a bit of a shame'

Max Verstappen says Honda’s decision to return to Formula 1 with Aston Martin is “a bit of a shame”, as the Dutchman feels that the Japanese manufacturer and Red Bull could have extended their very successful collaboration together into 2026.

Honda announced this week that it would join forces with Aston Martin from 2026, when F1’s ushers in the sport’s next-generation engine regulations.

Honda opted to leave F1 as an official power unit supplier at the end of the 2021 season. However, the manufacturer continued to supply its hardware to Red Bull which took over the maintenance of the units with Honda’s support.

But the firm remained committed to pulling out of F1 completely at the end of 2025, which compelled Red Bull to set up its own engine department – Red Bull Powertrains – to produce its own engine with input from its new brand partner Ford.

Verstappen, who won both of his world titles with Red Bull and Honda in 2021 and 2022, lamented the latter’s indecision and subsequent U-turn.

“I think from our side, of course, it’s a bit unfortunate how all of that turned out,” he said in Monaco on Friday.

“Because a few years ago, they say we’re gonna stop, so then Red Bull sets up its own engine division, and then at one point they say no, we continue.

“Unfortunately, once you’re already in the process of building a whole engine yourself, you can’t really work together anymore. It’s a bit of a shame, I would say.

“We always have and had a really good relationship with them, and then seeing them go to Aston Martin is a bit of a shame.”

Read also:

  • Stroll: Honda deal ‘the final piece in Aston jigsaw’

But looking towards the future, Verstappen is excited by the prospect of Red Bull producing its own next-generation power plant while leveraging Ford’s electrification expertise.

“We are also very excited from our side from 2026 onwards to see what’s going to happen together with Ford. It is what it is,” he added.

“A few years ago, we thought they were gonna leave, now they stay and they go with Aston Martin.

“For Aston Martin, it’s really good, they have a great engine, we all know that. So it is what it is.”

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