Formula One racing is the glamour sport of the world, with more people watching F1 than any other motorsports. However, Honda felt obliged to leave the sport after 2008 during the Great Recession and its huge economic impact. Now though, Honda has felt compelled to return to F1 and partner with McLaren for the 2015 season, seven years after leaving (source: Formula One).
Honda explained why they decided to return with Honda President and CEO Takanobu Ito saying,
“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.”
F1 will have a new turbocharged 1.6 liter V6 in 2014 and Honda has already started designing the new engines at their research and development facility in Japan. They will manufacture and supply engines and energy recovery systems to McLaren with the partnership to be called McLaren Honda.
The collaboration between McLaren and Honda reunites the two companies who had a previous relationship some 20 years ago before McLaren switched over to Mercedes in the mid-90s. McLaren and Mercedes will continue their relationship through the 2014 season but obviously there will be issues with the discontinuance of the partnership.
McLaren has been mired recently with poor performances and has not won a Constructors championship in 15 years, with their only claim to fame during that period being a drivers’ championship in 2008 by Lewis Hamilton.
One can’t forget the combination of McLaren and Honda back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s with the late Ayrton Senna winning three championships in-a-row. During that same era, McLaren won three Constructors titles. In 1988, the McLaren Honda MP4/4 won all but one race that year in what could be considered the most dominant year by any Constructor.
The Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) will be more prominent next year with rule modifications. The racecars will be more hybrid-oriented and auto manufacturers like Honda, would like to be at the forefront of that technology. F1 affords those opportunities with these changes. Also, expect to see Honda offer their powerplants to other teams as well.
Additional sources: Honda
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