Max Verstappen admits losing Honda is “a shame” for Red Bull after the announcement this week that the Japanese manufacturer will work with Aston Martin from 2026 onwards.
Red Bull and Honda ended Mercedes’ domination with Verstappen’s drivers’ championship in 2021, and followed that up with both titles last season. Currently leading the two championships again this year, the partnership continues with Honda providing technical support to Red Bull Powertrains, but following its decision to pull out as a full supplier two years ago, Red Bull made different plans with Ford from 2026 before Honda confirmed its return.
“I think from our side, of course, it’s a bit unfortunate how all of that turned out,” Verstappen said. “Because a few years ago, they said, ‘We’re gonna stop,’ so then Red Bull sets up its own engine division, and then at one point they said, ‘No, we continue.’ Unfortunately, once you’re already in the process of building a whole engine yourself, you can’t really work together anymore.
“It’s a bit of a shame, I would say. We always have and had a really good relationship with them, and then seeing them go to Aston Martin is a bit of a shame. But I mean, we are also very excited from our side from 2026 onwards to see what’s going to happen together with Ford.
“It is what it is. A few years ago, we thought they were gonna leave, now they stay and they go with Aston Martin. For Aston Martin, it’s really good — they have a great engine, we all know that.”
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The Monaco circuit doesn’t play to Red Bull’s strengths, but Verstappen is ready to take things as they come. Andy Hone/Motorsport Images
Of more immediate concern, Verstappen is wary Red Bull’s run of victories could come to an end in Monaco, where its high-speed and low-drag strengths are not played to by the circuit layout.
“I think it’s gonna be a little bit more difficult and closer together. But we still have a good car, just trying to extract the most out of it,” he said. “We know that over one lap it’s normally not our strongest point, but nevertheless, we still took quite a few pole positions this year, so it’s still all possible. But, for sure, here in Monaco can always be quite a surprise.
“It’s not only the car, it’s the track layout. The corners are so tight, so slow, that you sometimes require a lot of different behavior from the car compared to normal tracks and also the way you have to drive it. Sometimes your car works perfectly for these kinds of conditions and sometimes it’s maybe not ideal.
“I prefer to have a quick car for most of the tracks; it’s not ideal for Monaco, but it’s OK. It’s only one race on the calendar. We just want to have a good result. I want to win, of course, but if that is not the case, I’ll just take the points.”