From the start of 2015, McLaren’s cars will be powered by Honda engines and energy recovery systems, renewing a relationship between the two companies that won four drivers’ championships, four constructors’ championships and 44 Grands Prix between 1988 and 1992.
Honda has not competed in Formula One racing since the end of 2008, but the switch to a new 1.6-litre turbocharged engine formula in 2014 has encouraged the Japanese firm to…return to the sport.
“Ever since its establishment, Honda has been a company which grows by taking on challenges in racing,” commented Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Company.
“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.”
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s team principal and Group CEO, hailed the significance of the deal.
“It’s fantastic news for everyone who loves Formula One to be able to welcome Honda back. 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.”
Honda will develop its engines at its research and development facility in Tochigi, Japan, where it has already begun development of its all-new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 Formula One engine.
“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,” said Whitmarsh.
“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 One.”
McLaren’s current drivers, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, both expressed their excitement about the new partnership.
“I first raced a Formula One car powered by a Honda engine in 2003, and I was a works Honda Formula One driver between 2006 and ’08, winning my first Grand Prix in Hungary in 2006 in a Honda Formula One car, so I know exactly how passionate Honda is about motorsport, and Formula One in particular,” said Button.
Perez was equally effusive: “I was born in 1990 – the year Ayrton Senna won the second of his three world championships driving for McLaren-Honda – and I’ve grown up always knowing just how much that era lives on in the hearts and minds of motorsport fans around the world.
“Of course, Ayrton is my hero, as he’s a hero to many millions of people living in Central America and South America. So today’s announcement not only rekindles all the fantastic memories of that successful era, but it also starts a new age – which can be even more exciting.”
Honda’s agreement to supply McLaren with engines from 2015 onwards will bring to an end the Woking-based team’s long association with their current engine provider, Mercedes. Whitmarsh paid tribute to the German manufacturer, with whom the team has had a relationship since 1995.
“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.”