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Honda confirms return to F1 in 2015

ESPN Staff
May 16, 2013 « Honda return rumours gather pace | Button looking forward to working with Honda again »

Honda has confirmed it will return to Formula One with McLaren in 2015. The Japanese manufacturer has not competed in the sport since shutting its factory team at the end of 2008.

It has been in talks with McLaren for some time and has already made considerable progress with design work on a new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engine to comply with the new engine regulations coming into force next year. The new engine formula, which includes a greater emphasis on energy recovery systems, appears to have lured Honda back to the sport after it pulled out in 2008 amid the financial crisis.

The new regulations will be introduced next year, giving McLaren one year with its current supplier Mercedes before switching to Honda on a "multi-year deal". The new contract will also mean McLaren has its own engine supplier, putting it on level terms with Mercedes and Ferrari, which have their own factory engine departments, and Red Bull, which has a "premium" engine deal with Renault.

The news also rekindles a partnership between McLaren and Honda, which yielded four drivers' and constructors' titles between 1988 and 1992.

ESPN Comment

© McLaren
  • It was the news we'd all been waiting for. For well over a year McLaren had been playing down rumours that it would join forces with Honda under the new engine regulations, but the deal made too much sense for it not to happen. The Japanese manufacturer has a long and illustrious history in Formula One and the spirit of Soichiro Honda, who once said "If Honda does not race there is no Honda", still lives strong. Read more

"It's fantastic news for everyone who loves Formula One to be able to welcome Honda back to Formula 1," team principal Martin Whitmarsh said. "Together, we're about to embark on a new and extremely exciting chapter in McLaren's history.

"Like McLaren, Honda is a company with motor racing woven into the fabric of its heritage. We're proud and thrilled to be joining forces once more to take on the world in Formula One. Whilst both companies are fully aware that we're embarking on a very demanding journey together, we're hugely committed to the success of the partnership, and we'll spend the next 18 months working together to ensure that we're fully established and competitive ahead of our first grand prix together in 2015.

"McLaren and Honda share an unswerving commitment to high-technology, to innovation and to performance. Together we'll form a lasting partnership that will deliver success on the track, backed up by world-leading R&D and engineering intelligence.

"Finally, it's appropriate to recognise that until the end of 2014 we'll maintain a full commitment to our existing and long-standing partner, Mercedes-Benz, for which we retain the utmost respect and with whom we intend to continue to work diligently and professionally. McLaren-Mercedes has so far won an incredible 78 grands prix and four world championships. We aim to cap our long-standing partnership with the same ambition and resolve with which we began it: namely, to keep winning."

Takanobu Ito, president and CEO of Honda added: "Ever since its establishment, Honda has been a company which grows by taking on challenges in racing. Honda has a long history of advancing our technologies and nurturing our people by participating in the world's most prestigious automobile racing series. 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. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr Jean Todt, the President of FIA and to Mr Bernie Ecclestone, the CEO of Formula One Group who showed great understanding and cooperation to help realize our participation in F1 racing."

One of the aims of the 2014 engine regulations was to attract big name car manufacturers back to the sport and FIA president Jean Todt was keen to welcome the news.

"I am very happy to hear about Honda's important decision to return to Formula One with McLaren from 2015. The introduction of the new powertrain next year, in the form of a 1.6-litre V6 engine with direct injection and energy recovery, is a very exciting challenge and demonstrates a vision for the future of the sport. I am sure that Honda will become a strong contender in years to come."

Bernie Ecclestone added: "It is a great pleasure to see Honda back in Formula One. Their engine technology and passion for motorsport make them a natural Formula One contender."

The dominant McLaren MP4-4 was powered by a Honda turbo engine in 1988 © McLaren