Mercedes understands Aston Martin departure

Mercedes understands Aston Martin departure

01-06-2023 07:45 Last update: 08:57
Author profile picture

Toby McLuskie

Aston Martin announced over a week ago that they will run with Honda engines in Formula 1 from 2026. This will end a happy marriage of more than 15 years with Mercedes. Toto Wolff understands his customer team's choice and does not think it has anything to do with the German powerplant's performance.

Aston Martin's ambition is clear: to become world champion. To do so, the current number two in the constructors' championship deemed it necessary for them to tie up their own engine supplier. The Mercedes engine may be competitive, but it comes with a standard power unit and the aerodynamicists have to work around that. With Honda as their own partner, requests around the power unit can actually be made.

It should help Aston Martin join the absolute top in the king class of motorsport. Wolff understands the thinking, he told and others. As such, Wolff strongly believes that it was not Mercedes' power source but wanting to be a factory team that was the deciding factor in choosing Honda. No doubt, the Japanese engine supplier's strong performance in recent years will also have played a very big part in that.

Serious consideration for Aston Martin

The Mercedes team boss is impressed by how big everything is being handled at Aston Martin. "They have their own exclusive power unit supply deal, they have their own fuel supplier, they are building a big factory that’s going online in the next few months – and Lawrence’s aim is never small. I think when you want to be competitive and win championships, that is the kind of step that you need to make.”

The question is how bad Mercedes will mind having one less customer team soon. Despite the departure of Aston Martin, Williams and McLaren will remain customers for the time being. Wolff said last year that his formation was planning to shed a customer team anyway. He preferred to downsize a bit and so that is what will happen from 2026.