‘Right people and new philosophy have brought Honda success’

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Fernando Alonso admits he regrets Honda’s departure from Formula 1. After a difficult partnership at McLaren, Alonso watched the Japanese engine supplier hire ‘the right people’ and introduce a ‘new philosophy’.

Alonso drove the Honda engine at McLaren for three years. The Spaniard wasn’t afraid to share his views on the powerplant’s performance and reliability, which were more often negative than positive. For example, on Honda’s home track, Suzuka, he called the Honda bike a ‘GP2 bike’ because it was overtaken too easily and he regularly laughed sarcastically at the bike’s performance.

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That heavy collaboration came to an end. Honda switched to Toro Rosso, now AlphaTauri, after which it also started supplying Red Bull with engines. The two already took some victories, but they did not come close to the title. Until 2021, when Max Verstappen won the title in the very last round of the season. According to Alonso, Honda was successful for several reasons.

“When they left McLaren they weren’t at the point where they could dream of the Formula 1 championship, but they’ve done well,” said Alonso. “They hired the right people, changed management and introduced a new philosophy. They did it and I am very happy for them.”

Also read: Alonso: ‘Not all problems have been solved yet, but we are on the right track’

“I’ve been talking to Yamamoto (CEO of Honda, ed.) for the last three or four races because I have a very good relationship with him,” Alonso added. “He made it possible for me to test a MotoGP bike. We still have a good relationship. When Max won, I was the first to congratulate him. I’m happy for them. It’s a shame they’re leaving now, but hopefully they’ll come back,” concludes Alonso.

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