McLaren has finally announced what many of us knew for some time: it will reunite with Honda from the 2015 Formula 1 season onwards on a multi-year partnership.
It will be the second time that the two have joined forces, with the McLaren-Honda combination that operated between 1988-92 helping the team with three Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship titles apiece.
As part of this new deal, Honda will develop a bespoke 1.6litre turbo V6 engine for the Woking team’s use under the new turbo engine regulations, which come into effect a year before. Until then, McLaren will continue its customer engine deal with long-time partner, Mercedes.
The announcement is fantastic for the sport, marking the first manufacturer to join the series since Toyota back in 2002, as it will also open the grid up to a choice of four, rather than three, engine partners from whom to choose.
And with Honda being the first to join the ranks of Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault, there are now hopes that other manufacturers may follow Honda’s lead. In turn, this will help to reduce teams’ expenditures, but dint of their being more works engine partnership choices, and a greater range of lower-price customer engines on offer.
“Ever since its establishment, Honda has been a company which grows by taking on challenges in racing,” Honda’s President and CEO, Takanobu Ito, said in today’s announcement.
“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.
“The corporate slogan of Honda is ‘The Power of Dreams’. This slogan represents our strong desire to pursue and realize our dreams together with our customers and fans. Together with McLaren, one of the most distinguished F1 constructors, Honda will mark a new beginning in our challenges in F1.”
“It’s fantastic news for everyone who loves Formula 1 to be able to welcome Honda back to Formula 1,” added McLaren F1 team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
“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.”