Tokyo, May 16 (IANS) Formula 1 team McLaren confirmed Thursday that they will form a new multi-year technology partnership and use Honda engines from the 2015 season.
The McLarens will race using Honda engines and energy recovery systems, renewing an association that became one of the most successful and powerful in Formula 1 history during the 1980s-90s.
The announcement brings back Honda back into the sport after a six-year absence but also signals the reappearance of Honda turbo power in Grand Prix racing. Honda broke new ground in the 1980s by creating a turbocharged engine that was unparalleled in both its output and its efficiency.
Those same challenges have once again brought the Japanese manufacturer back as F1 gets ready to introduce the 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines from 2014. Honda will develop the engines in Tochigi, Japan, where development has already begun.
The McLaren-Honda partnership together, between 1988 and 1992, won eight World Championships and 44 Grands Prix, took 53 pole positions and set 30 fastest laps – all in just 80 races.
McLaren Group CEO Martin Whitmarsh said: “It’s fantastic news for everyone who loves Formula 1 to be able to welcome Honda back. Like McLaren, Honda is a company with motor racing woven into the fabric of its heritage. We’ll spend the next 18 months working together to ensure that we’re fully established and competitive ahead of our first race in 2015.”
This association also means the end of McLaren’s association with Mercedes, who have been supplying the former with engines since 1995. Together, the team has won 78 Grands Prix and four World Championships.
“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.”
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. CEO Takanobu Ito said: “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. Together with McLaren, one of the most distinguished F1 constructors, Honda will mark a new beginning in our challenges in F1.”
McLaren driver and 2009 World Champion Jenson Button, also a former Honda driver, said he has enjoyed a successful relationship with his former employers from 2003-2008.
“I first raced an F1 car powered by Honda in 2003 and I was Honda team’s driver from 2006-08 winning my first race in Hungary in 2006. So I know exactly how passionate Honda is about Formula 1.
Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula 1 Group, said: “It is a great pleasure to see Honda back. Their engine technology and passion for motorsport make them a natural F1 contender.”