- Honda and Fernando Alonso have a frosty relationship, stemming from the McLaren-Honda days.
- Honda says they will not dictate to Aston Martin who its drivers must be when the 2026 partnership comes into effect.
- Honda has Yuki Tsunoda on its books.
As the Aston Martin-Honda tie-up talks begin to settle, one of the more pertinent questions that need answering is that of Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard and Honda do not have the best relationship, with their time together during the McLaren-Honda days still lingering fresh in the minds of everyone who saw the team's fall from grace.
However, it wasn't Honda's fault McLaren fast-tracked their F1 entry to 2015 instead of 2016, and what transpired was an unsuccessful spell that led to more heartache and disappointment than either McLaren or Honda could have foreseen.
The situation wasn't helped by Alonso comparing the engine to those used in Formula 2, F1's feeder series.
But now, with Alonso at Aston Martin and Honda linking with the team in 2026, we can't help but wonder just what Honda thinks of it.
Alonso is the #1 choice
During the announcement procedure of Aston Martin and Honda joining forces in 2026, the group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, Martin Whitmarsh, commented on Alonso's involvement.
And it was necessary because Alonso will be 44 when the 2026 season commences, turning 45 in July of that year. Though he is good now, will he be good enough then?
READ: Self-inflicted damage and the need to step out birthed Honda, Aston Martin's merger
According to Whitmarsh, Alonso is the preferred choice, saying: "Probably 2026, who knows, it's probably outside his planning horizon, at the moment. We've got to give him a car that is consistently capable of winning races.
"We'll have a discussion before 2026, I'm sure, about where Fernando's future lies. I hope he'll be around for a number of years, and it would be great if he's as fit and competitive as he's today. Then it would be fantastic to have him in the car in 2026 as well."
And Honda's choice?
Soon after returning in 2015, Honda set up its own program developing driver talents, called the 'Honda Formula Dream Project'. This project is designed especially to help Japanese drivers en route to F1.
Current AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda, also in the Red Bull talent pool, is still a part of Honda's project. As is Formula 2 driver, Ayumu Iwasa. Honda's deal with Red Bull makes provision for at least one Japanese driver to race for either Red Bull Racing or AlphaTauri, and it can't be ignored that the same might happen with Aston Martin.
Perhaps not in 2026, but maybe somewhere down the line.
READ: Fernando Alonso eyeing chance to end Red Bull's 2023 winning streak in Monaco
Honda Racing Corporation CEO Koji Watanabe says Honda will not influence the team's driver decisions. And if Aston Martin opts to continue with Alonso for 2026, they will respect the decision, despite their rocky past with the driver.
He said: "The selection of drivers is up to the team to decide. So, if the team decides we’ll have Alonso as a driver again, we will have no objections whatsoever in him driving."