Williams has cast doubt on the possibility of Honda becoming a major player in a potential deal for 2026 under the new engine regulations. Although Honda is registered as a manufacturer, it has yet to secure a team, and sources suggest that it may have already fallen behind schedule to be fully prepared to supply the new power units. A decision from the board is expected to be made sometime this year.

Williams Team Principal James Vowles commented on Honda’s preparedness, stating, “It’d be hard for me to comment because I’m not sure what they have facilities-wise. But I think they’re a little bit further away from where they would need to be a serious contender.”

As for when Williams will make a decision on its 2026 engine supplier, Vowles said, “We are currently in the process of exploring all the options available to this team. We are not committed to Mercedes, and we are still reviewing our options. However, we need to make a decision fairly soon, and I think waiting until the end of the year would be too late.”

Vowles also revealed that he has not been in contact with Honda regarding a possible partnership, despite the Japanese manufacturer claiming that it has received calls from “multiple F1 teams” to discuss a 2026 engine supply deal. He added that he would not be influenced by his previous affiliation with Mercedes, where he worked as a chief strategist before joining Williams.

Williams and Honda have a history of successful collaboration in F1, winning three constructors’ and two drivers’ championships together in the mid-1980s. However, their last partnership ended in 1987, and since then Williams has switched between various engine suppliers, including Renault, BMW, Cosworth and currently Mercedes.

The championship-winning Williams FW11B was the last car to have a Honda engine. debunCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The new engine regulations for 2026 aim to make F1 more sustainable, affordable and attractive for new entrants. The power units will be based on hybrid technology, but with simplified components and increased standardisation. The FIA hopes that this will create a more level playing field and encourage more competition and innovation among manufacturers.

WastrickCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons