F1's greener rules coax Honda back to the track

The world's Formula One tracks will once again be filled with the formidable roar of Hondas. Officials at the Japanese automaker say they'll be partnering with the British-based Aston Martin team from 2026.

Honda became the first Japanese marque to participate in F1 back in 1964. The company enjoyed a golden era from the late 1980s to the early 90s under a partnership with McLaren, also from Britain.

Honda pulled out of Formula One in 2021. The move came after senior officials announced in 2015 that they want to steer the company toward a greener future.

Honda plans to shift entirely to new sales of electric and fuel cell vehicles by 2040.

In 1988, the McLaren Honda team won the Japan Grand Prix in Suzuka.

The officials say they decided to return to Formula One in 2026 because rule changes will dovetail with Honda's plans to go carbon neutral.

They say the cars will need to get no more than half of their power from a combustion engine, and that the fuel must be sustainable.

The new F1 team will be called Aston Martin Aramco Honda.

Go fast, go green

Honda CEO Mibe Toshihiro speaks on Wednesday in Tokyo.

"Honda has grown by taking on the challenge of racing and winning," said President and CEO Mibe Toshihiro at a news conference on Wednesday in Tokyo.

"The technologies and know-how obtained from racing will directly improve the competitiveness of our mass-produced electric vehicles, and help us become carbon neutral."

Team owner eyes success

Aston Martin racing team owner Lawrence Stroll speaks on Wednesday in Tokyo.

Aston Martin F1 team owner Lawrence Stroll was also at the news conference in Tokyo.

"Honda is a global titan and its success in motorsport is longstanding and incredibly impressive," he said. "I'm looking forward to the two companies working together."

Racing chief in it for long haul

Honda Racing Corporation, a subsidiary of Honda Motor, will be tasked with developing the power units and handling race participation.

HRC President Watanabe Koji told NHK the decision to get back into Formula One was partly driven by the sport's growing popularity among young people in North America - the Japanese automaker's main market.

Watanabe added that he hopes Honda will continue its activities in Formula One.