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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Honda Return!

At 8.32am GMT McLaren issued a press release confirming the rumours which have been circulating in the press and on the web since the new engine regulations for 2014 were first mooted back in 2011.

From the start of the 2015 season McLaren will partner with Honda as the works team for their 1.6 litre V6 turbo engine.

This is great news for the McLaren team, who enjoyed their most successful period in Formula 1 when partnered with the Japanese manufacturer winning 4 Constructor's and 4 Drivers Championships: the highlight of that partnership was the 1988 season when McLaren Honda won 15 of that season's 16 Grand Prix.

Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. provided an insight into the thinking behind Honda's return to the sport after leaving at the end of the 2008 season
The new F1 regulations with their significant environmental focus will inspire even greater development of our own advanced technologies and this is central to our participation in F1.  We have the greatest respect for the FIA’s decision to introduce these new regulations that are both highly challenging but also attractive to manufacturers that pursue environmental technologies and to Formula One Group, which has developed F1 into a high value, top car racing category supported by enthusiastic fans.
Martin Whitmarsh is understandably delighted:
The names of McLaren and Honda are synonymous with success in Formula 1, and, for everyone who works for both companies, the weight of our past achievements together lies heavily on our shoulders. But it’s a mark of the ambition and resolve we both share that we want once again to take McLaren-Honda to the very pinnacle of Formula 1 success. Together we have a great legacy – and we’re utterly committed to maintaining it.
Honda has built a reputation as a worldwide engineering giant, but its roots, its specialism and its passion lie in the advancement of the internal combustion engine. Throughout its history, Honda has pioneered engine technology in road cars, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Indeed, its experience as a manufacturer of turbocharged engines is unequalled by any other car manufacturer currently competing in Formula 1.
Jenson Button, of course has 3 years experience racing with Honda who took over BAR in 2006, and won his first GP with them in that year.  It may be that his familiarity with Honda F1 personnel will be valuable, should he remain at McLaren in 2015.