Honda says it would have no issues rekindling a relationship with Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin despite the pair's past frictions.
The Japanese manufacturer announced on Wednesday that it would power Aston Martin in F1 from 2026 after signing a five-year deal with Team Silverstone.
During Fernando Alonso's tenure with McLaren from 2015 to 2017, the Spaniard frustrations with Honda's power unit performance were often vocalized in his interviews and radio transmissions during races.
Honda's comeback to F1 with the Woking-based outfit in 2015 faced numerous challenges, including reliability issues, lack of power, and a general lack of competitiveness.
That year at the Japanese Grand Prix, with Honda's senior management in attendance, Alonso delivered his now-famous "GP2 engine…" sideswipe.
The two-time world champion later admitted regretting the heat-of-the-moment outburst, but Honda was understandably left unimpressed by Alonso's antics.
Several years on, water has crossed under the bridge. Although it's perhaps unlikely that Alonso will still be on the grid in 2026 – the Spaniard will be 45 – Honda would have no reservations about working with the Aston Martin charger.
"If we are to team up with Alonso again, as our driver, we have no objections whatsoever in him driving," commented Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe.
Martin Whitmarsh, Group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, said on Wednesday in Tokyo that Alonso's presence in the team was never a contentious point during its talks with Honda.
"No, it wasn't," he said. "Clearly Fernando's doing a great job in the team, and we are delighted to have him as part of our team. He's making a great contribution both on and off the track.
"Obviously I spoke to Fernando a little while ago about the direction that we intended to go. He's a very intelligent individual.
"I'm sure everyone is referring to some comments that were made, probably in the heat of battle, once, which were quite memorable, I suppose, for some. But I think he understands and respects what Honda are doing."
Whitmarsh confirmed that 2026 was probably outside Alonso's "planning horizon at the moment".
"We've got to give him a car that can consistently win races," added the Briton. "We've made a reasonable step forward this year, but we're not yet where we need to be.
"We are continuing to develop the team, the facilities, and we'll get stronger. And we'll have a discussion before 2026 I'm sure about Fernando, where Fernando is, and what his future lies.
"I hope he'll be around for a number of years and it will be great if he's as fit and as competitive as he is today. Then it would be fantastic to have him in the car in 2026 as well."