Honda is sensing the winds of change when it comes to Formula One racing, and has decided to make a return, developing and refining new technologies. This new directive was announced yesterday by Honda Motor Company's President and CEO, Mr. Takanobu Ito. Partnering with Honda during it's return will be none other than McLaren, the UK company well known to F1 fans and also highly regarded for it's exotic, high performance cars.
Involved since the 1960s, Honda pulled out of the F1 arena following the 2008 season when it was experiencing financial hardship and low exports to the US and Europe during the economic downturn.
Getting everything underway for the 2015 season, Honda will be responsible for the development, manufacture and delivery of the powertrain, engine and the system of energy recovery. Meanwhile, McLaren will be responsible for the development and manufacture of the chassis. The administration of the new team, McLaren Honda, will also be assigned.
What recaptured Honda's interest was a change in the F1's rules. The new rules require that, beginning in 2014, the presence of environmentally friendlier turbocharged engines, something that Honda can apply to it's commercial vehicles later after developing the technologies in the context of motor racing. Like all auto manufacturers, Honda is devoted these days to improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines and developing new technologies for energy management, such as hybrid systems. It's participation in Formula One racing will help to accelerate development in these areas.
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of McLaren Group, believes that McLaren and Honda are synonymous with success in F1 racing. Both companies are eager to once again experience the honours, and so are ambitious and determined. They are the heirs to a tradition that they are committed to preserving.
Meanwhile, Jean Todt, president of the FIA, said that he was delighted to hear of Honda's return and partnership with McLaren. According to him, the new regulation is an exciting challenge and presents a vision of the sport's future. He is convinced that Honda will be a title contender in coming years.
Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Group, said that Honda's engine technology and their passion for motor sports make them a natural contender in the F1 championship.
In the later part of the 1980s, Honda engines powered McLaren cars for five seasons. From 1988 to 1991, Honda Marlboro McLaren (that was the team's name) won the Constructor's Championship. In 1992, the team placed second. Three drivers had the pleasure of driving these F1 cars- Ayrton Senna over five years, Alain Prost in 1988-1989 and Gerhard Berger from 1990 to 1992. The team's most prolific season was 1988 during which Ayrton Senna had eight victories, and Alain Prost won in September. Only the Italian Grand Prix in Monza escaped the duo's run that year. A great comeback from a truly successful partnership!
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca