“Ejected” by McLaren only to reunite with the team and then criticize their engine partner, Jenson Button chuckles at the thought of Fernando Alonso teaming up with Honda.
However, his fellow pundit David Croft believes the Spaniard could be part of a formidable Aston Martin-Honda partnership – the “next Red Bull”.
Earlier this week, Aston Martin announced they would have a ‘factory partnership’ with Honda from 2026, a partnership that would allow Alonso to work with the Japanese manufacturer despite the controversy of old.
When Honda returned to F1 with McLaren in 2015, Alonso famously labeled their engine a “GP2 engine” and did so at Honda’s home race in Japan.
After three unsuccessful years together in which McLaren and Honda declined their partnership, the double world champion claimed McLaren has “only one problem, and that is the powerplant”.
Honda has since linked up with Red Bull, helping the team to back-to-back Drivers’ Championship titles and the 2022 Constructors’ crown. As for Alonso, he took a short break from F1 before returning to the sport with Renault and then Aston Martin.
That most recent partnership has so far proved fortuitous, with Alonso and Aston Martin taking four podiums in five races with Mercedes power. But dreaming of greater success and a world championship, Aston Martin has chosen to enter into a factory deal with Honda starting in 2026.
It’s one that could see the Spaniard powered by Honda again, if Alonso is still racing at 44 years old.
Speaking of Aston Martin’s jump in 2023 and future Honda partner, Alonso’s former teammate Button told Sky Sports: “It’s never a matter of months given the amount of time and effort that would go into this car.
“It’s about who they bring in from other teams, I think we all know that. The experience of people who work at Red Bull and bring that information, a certain amount of information that you can take with you.
“So no, I’m not hugely surprised. I think next year is going to be the most important, can they continue to improve as they’ve been doing.
“I love that they have Honda engines and I love that. What’s even funnier is that Fernando gets Honda engines.
“He left McLaren, or got kicked out, they invited him back. And then he had Honda engines, which were called GP2 engines, and now he’s going to have Honda engines again.”
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His fellow pundit Naomi Schiff thinks sparks could fly if Honda are unable to recreate the success they achieved with Red Bull.
“Honda has done great things since then, so I think he knows they have the potential to make a bike that is very good,” she said. “Yes, time is a healer, some people don’t forget, some people do.
“But I think it’s all about the performance of the engine. If the engine is good, it will be great. If not, we’ll see a feisty Fernando again, I think.”
However, Croft doubts the latter will be the case, the pundit billing Aston Martin as possibly the “next Red Bull”.
“I thought Aston Martin had the potential to be the next Red Bull with Lawrence Stroll,” he said. “He’s a man in business who never folds, who isn’t afraid to keep his mouth shut.
“Whatever the reasons he came and bought that team, and a lot of it was all about Lance, it’s not now. He turned a midfield punch above his weight into something that now grows up with people and fights for championships in the future, for that is its ultimate goal.
“And he told me last year in Singapore, ‘mark my words, in two years we’re going to win races and in three years we’re going to win championships’. That’s Lawrence Stroll’s mantra in Formula 1 and everything he’s done so far is absolutely right for that team.
“And it’s great that Formula 1 has a competitive team on the grid again.”