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The hopeful Honda return for Fernando Alonso and their history.

Written by Maria Rodriguez, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Image Credit: Aston Martin

April 11, 2024 — The day the news broke out: Fernando Alonso renewed his contract with Aston Martin into the 2026 season, after months of rumors regarding his next move such as a move to Red Bull, Mercedes, or retirement. 

However, the enthusiasm to stay with Aston Martin was always there for Alonso. 

Last season, the Spaniard had a solid start to the season with Aston Martin after finishing on the podium numerous times, including coming close to his 33rd win but just missing out on it. 

Regardless, he was happy with his move from Alpine to Aston Martin and finishing P3 in the World Driver Standings. It makes sense as to why Fernando Alonso has chosen to stay with the team.

However, these strong performances have not turned over into this new season, as Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso have struggled to drive up the standings. Alonso has also yet to be on the podium in any of the races so far. 

It’s also important to note that Alonso is staying in Formula 1 through the 2026 season, when changes come for the teams. 

The most notable of these changes include switching over engine suppliers. The Silverstone-based team use Mercedes engines currently, but that is set to change in 2026 when they move to Honda engines. 

Now Alonso and Honda are not a new duo to Formula One, reuniting after their previous meet-up in 2015 through 2017 during his time with McLaren. This first encounter was not one of the happiest moments.

So, to take a trip down memory lane, let’s talk about Alonso and McLaren Honda and the grim years. 

Image Credit: Fernando Alonso via Instagram

2015 season

Now before the season even started, it was pointing to a negative. A crash in Barcelona testing that sparked up many different explanations, ruled Alonso out of the Australian Grand Prix. 

When he suffered a concussion from his crash, the reasoning was gusty winds from McLaren and a steering wheel lock, according to Alonso. 

One of the most popular radio transmissions is Fernando Alonso’s 2015 Japanese Grand Prix radio moment that was aired on the broadcast. 

This is when he referred to the engine as a “GP2 engine,” criticizing the car and the engine as not being up to par with F1 standards. Since then Alonso has spoken out against this moment. 

A 35-place grid penalty? As if his fortunes can’t get any worse, it somehow does. McLaren decided to run their upgraded engine in FP1, and then change it back to the old one in FP2, resulting in a 35-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian Grand Prix later in the year sparked one of the most infamous moments of Alonso soaking in the sun in a lawn chair. A disappointing qualifying for Alonso set him 15th for Sunday’s race. 

The result of his car breaking down because the engine had lost power. Further complicating the relationship between Honda engine and Fernando Alonso. 

Additionally, a joke between him and his teammate Jenson Button, who qualified 17th for Sunday’s race saw the duo take a trip to the podium in Brazil, addressing that obvious issue, but joking that the visit was the closest they could get to the podium. 

Fernando Alonso and teammate Jenson Button visiting the podium; Image Credit: McLaren via X

To further add in this season he ended up scoring only 11 points divided into 2-point scoring finishes. 

2016 season 

Although a turbulent season Fernando Alonso and McLaren-Honda had, they confirmed their partnership for 2016 and 2017. Expectations for the car rise for everyone involved. Alonso expects a faster car with better race results, he even mentions a possible trip to the podium. 

Although a scary start to the season because of a crash at the Australian Grand Prix, and being unable to race in Bahrain, things started to turn for the team and Alonso. 

He scored points at Sochi after a sixth-place finish in the race. Monaco rolls around and Fernando Alonso makes it to Q3 in qualifying, his second consecutive one for the season. 

He made it a third consecutive Q3 at the Canadian Grand Prix, continuing his successful march later into the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he finished seventh. 

However, the struggles continued, this time a 60-place penalty ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, imposed after engine changes in free practice and qualifying. 

Although it did not affect his starting position for Sunday’s race given the lack of qualifying for him, he was not discouraged by the performance of the car’s speed. 

Honda’s home race showed the problems that were still within, with no point being able to be scored during this race. A decline from the hopes and previous weekends they had.

Ultimately, the season turned out better for him, as Alonso scored 54 points in 2016, a step up from his first season back with McLaren. 

2017 season

A hopeful season turned sour once again. Fernando Alonso called out the engine during testing before the season started. As reported by BBC Sports he said, there was “no reliability and no power.”

The Bahrain race didn’t go well. Falling behind his competitors throughout the race because of lack of speed, he ultimately retires from the race. 

In the Russian Grand Prix, he didn’t get to start the race, as his engine shut down. At his home race, he faced more issues when the car stopped during the practice session.

Regardless of the engine’s issues, a shocking move came from Alonso: He would be racing in the 2017 Indianapolis 500, with Honda. Of course, this meant he missed the Monaco Grand Prix, which fell on the same day as the Indy 500.. 

The history book on the shelf continued to repeat itself, with Alonso and McLaren. During his attempt in the Indy 500, he had to retire from the race on lap 179 for the reason he knows all too well. 

Although he led a total of 27 laps in the race, his engine failed again and his car came to a stop. His rookie attempt at the 500 was prevented from finishing by the same engine issues affecting his Formula One season. 

Image Credit: IndyCar

The pressure mounted on McLaren-Honda as one thing became clear: Fernando Alonso was unhappy and wanted out. 

Further retirements through the season, with a back and forth of Alonso saying engine problems denied by the manufacturer. The change finally comes, McLaren is dropping Honda as their engine supplier and Fernando Alonso is staying. 

In the 2017 season, Fernando Alonso finished the season scoring only 17 points. A 37-point decline from the 2016 season. 

Honda’s Future with Fernando Alonso

Despite all of this, Fernando Alonso looks hopeful for the reunion. He has left those years in the past and is only focused on moving forward. Especially with the success Honda has had with Red Bull these past years. He says he sees this partnership as a “win-win.”

Additionally, last year Honda said, “We have no objections whatsoever in him driving.” 

Only time will tell what will happen with these two reuniting in 2026, and it will certainly be something to look out for. 


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