Max Verstappen admits the loss of Honda is a “shame” for Red Bull after announcing this week that the Japanese manufacturer will work with Aston Martin from 2026.
Red Bull and Honda ended Mercedes’ dominance with Verstappen’s 2021 drivers’ championship, then won both titles last season. Currently running two championships this year, he continues to work with Honda to provide technical support to Red Bull Powertrains, but following the decision to withdraw as a full supplier two years ago, Red Bull had other plans with Ford from 2026 before Honda confirmed its return.
“I think it’s obviously a bit unfortunate on our part how it all turned out,” said Verstappen. “Because a few years ago they said, ‘We’re going to stop,’ so then Red Bull started their own engine division, and then at some point they said, ‘No, we’re continuing.’ Unfortunately, once you’re in the process of building the entire engine yourself, you can’t really collaborate anymore.
“A bit of a pity, I’d say. We’ve always had 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’re also very excited on our part starting in 2026 to see what happens with Ford.
“It is what it is. A few years ago we thought they were going to leave and now they’re staying and going with Aston Martin. It’s really good for Aston Martin – they have a great engine, we all know that.”
As for more immediate concerns, Verstappen fears Red Bull’s winning streak could end in Monaco, where the track layout does not take advantage of its high speed and low drag.
“I think it will be a little harder and closer together. But we still have a good car, we’re just trying to get the most out of it,” he said. “We know that on one lap it’s not usually our strongest point, but we still got a lot of pole positions this year, so anything is still possible. But surely here in Monaco there can always be a big surprise.
“It’s not just the car, it’s also the layout of the track. The corners are so tight, so slow, that sometimes the car is required to behave a lot differently than on a normal track, and also the way it has to be driven. Sometimes your car works perfectly in these kinds of conditions, and sometimes it may not be perfect.
“For most tracks I prefer to have a fast car; not ideal for Monaco but ok. It’s only one race on the calendar. We just want to get a good result. Of course I want to win, but if I don’t, I’ll just take the points.