Honda “confirm” plan to return with McLaren in 2015

F1 Fanatic round-up

Ayrton Senna, McLaren, 1989In the round-up: Further claims Honda will return as an engine manufacturer in 2015 with McLaren.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

McLaren leaves door open for Honda (Autosport)

“Honda sources have confirmed to Autosport that it plans to return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier to McLaren.”

Lewis Hamilton: I’m either hated or loved… (Daily Mail)

“Go to Spain and people generally hate me there. Whether it was something I said about Fernando [Alonso] or something he said to the people about me, they do not forget and you are branded.”

Lewis Hamilton plans to build a legacy as a great ?ǣ and a museum too (The Guardian)

“It is a different era and I am not Ayrton Senna. I am my own personality, but I hope that I will have that greatness.”

Performance takes priority over reliability ?ǣ Whitmarsh (NBC)

“Whitmarsh said McLaren are ‘constantly vigilant’ about improving their car?s reliability. ‘But we mustn’t become so obsessed by the pursuit of reliability that we don?t change the car.'”

Sam Michael Q&A (Sky)

“If I said, ‘We’ve got a new rear wing’, for example, there might be two reasons why we don’t run a new rear wing: it might not have correlated well or something else happened in the tunnel that changed our understanding and that wing became obsolete very quickly. So we’ve learnt from past experience not to say what the actual upgrades are until they’ve actually done the grand prix.”

Australians unhappy at paying ??23m fee for race (The Times, subscription required)

“Bernie Ecclestone will fly into Melbourne this week facing calls to cut his ??23 million race fee to save the future of the Australian Grand Prix.”

Formula One Betting: Pre-season Tips (Unibet)

My column for Unibet is back – here are the pick of the pre-season bets on the championship and the first race of the year.

Martin Brundle: Sebastian Vettel’s the best (Express)

Martin Brundle: “Max [Chilton] deserves a shot. He?s got a strong personality. I don?t see him as another Hamilton, but you can emerge from tail-end teams and we?ll see if he can do that.”

A lesson on how to drive on ice… Kimi Raikkonen style… (Lotus via YouTube)

Could we be in for a shock in Melbourne? (Intelligent F1)

“If there is to be a surprise, it is most likely to come from Williams, and I would expect them to be the only interlopers within the top ten (under normal circumstances) from this midfield pack.”


Comment of the day

@Bullmello has high hopes for Williams this year:

It would be great to see the Williams team have a competitive and productive season. Long one of my favourite teams, it is refreshing to see an underdog (privateer without the massive resources of the ultra-rich manufacturers) with so much potential going into a new season.

The car looks quite promising and the drivers are the definition of partially unrealised potential and a largely unknown quantity in F1 competition, yet good experience with the car and team. Maldonado should realise his potential this season and I think he will.

I think Bottas could be one of the better young drivers to come along in a while. How could any F1 fan not be excited about what the Williams team brings to 2013!

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Daniel, Garf, Michael Griffin, Monkzie, nitin24 and Obi-Spa Kenobi!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

It was a busy day’s testing for several teams on this day ten years ago. Cristiano Da Matta was quickest for Toyota at Jerez. Meanwhile Ferrari entrusted their car development to test driver Felipe Massa at Fiorano.

Image ?? Honda

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131 comments on Honda “confirm” plan to return with McLaren in 2015

  1. Harvs (@harvs) said on 12th March 2013, 5:13

    Now Christian Horner and Martin Whitmarsh can both complain about having under-power engines.

  2. Probably an irrelevant comment here: But if someone(Lotus/Red Bull) can get the Passive Drs to work it could be huge.. In Circuits like Monza, Austin later in the Calendar which has slow corners followd by Long straights it could be worth more than +0.5 secs over a Lap . It would have also suited Sepang but I guess its too early in the season.

    • @sonkky – I think you are correct: Red Bull in particular would be huge benefactors from it as they traditionally have a very high downforce and high drag car. Perhaps not a 0.5s gain, but a 0.2 gain would be significant in such a tight grid.

  3. Jason (@jason12) said on 12th March 2013, 8:12

    Yet another blow for McLaren…
    1. Lewis gone
    2. Paddy Lowe gone
    3. Mercedes Engine gone
    This is beginning to look like a very slippery downward slope.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th March 2013, 8:59

      Um, where are you getting some of this stuff from?

      2. Paddy Lowe gone

      Look at Sauber – they lost the very talented James Key to Toro Rosso. In his absence, they promoted Matt Morris to design the C32. And what Morris produced is one of the most interesting cars on the grid, what with the skinny sidepods. based on testing, it’s certainly brimming with potential.

      So just because McLaren lost Paddy Lowe, it’s by no means the end of the world. There will always be other designers out there, and McLaren are big enough and powerful enough to attract some of the most talented people out there.

      3. Mercedes Engine gone

      Sure, McLaren might part ways with Mercedes for Honda, but where is it written that that is a bad thing?

      Furthermore, if you read between the lines of that article a bit, this is not a case of McLaren leaving Mercedes because the relationship turned sour. This appears to be a case where McLaren have approached Honda, or Honda have approached McLaren, and by mutual agreement, McLaren have decided to take Honda engines instead of renewing their contract with Mercedes.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th March 2013, 12:44

        Exactly its McLaren’s choice if they go for Honda. Surely expecting the engine to be an improvement for them. The contract between McLaren and Mercedes gives McLaren the option to use those engines until 2015, if they choose to do so (Mercedes must supply them) @jason12.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 12th March 2013, 13:10

          @bascb, taken context of McLarens 2 latest road cars, 1 turbocharged V8 designed by or for McLaren and 1 pure electric drive designed by McLaren, it makes sense for McLaren to distance themselves from Mercedes who are direct competitors on the road with McLaren. I for one would not be at all surprised if McLarens next F1 engine was labelled “McLaren”.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 12th March 2013, 13:12

            taken IN context…..

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th March 2013, 14:15

            I think it will rather be that Honda, after all isn’t there more to win by having an engine manufacturer sponsor the F1 team by developing an engine and building them at their own cost instead of McLAren having to do it themselves?

            I do think that McLaren will want to work on a bigger part of the hybrid half, so working together with Honda on such an engine would make sense (more than buying the package from Mercedes)

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2013, 4:08

            @bascb – There was a rumour during testing that McLaren had purchased Cosworth, or maybe just its assets and facilities. If so, this might actually work out well for both parties.

            When Honda was competing in 2007 and 2008, their big problem was that they kept trying to run things from a boardroom in Tokyo. They were making decisions that were good for the company, but bad for the team; for instance, they made Shuhei Nakamoto the lead designer of the cars because they wanted a Japanese designer making their cars.

            If McLaren have indeed purchased all or some of Cosworth, then I could see them developing their own engines for 2015, and badged as Hondas. In exchange, Honda would invest in or back the team, turning them into an unofficial works team, rather like McLaren’s relationship with Mercedes from 1995 to 2010. This would give McLaren full control over the engine and development so that they make the best decisions for the team, but would give Honda plenty of exposure in Formula 1 without the risk of making decisions that are bad for the team. Meanwhile, McLaren could supply Honda’s road car division with engines, because Honda doesn’t actually produce that many engines (particularly V8s).

      • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 12th March 2013, 16:28

        This path of divergence from McLaren using the Mercedes engine probably started even before Mercedes came into direct competition with their own team. Seems there were rumors of McLaren ditching the Mercedes engine right away after the Mercedes team was announced. Wisely, they have taken their time to find what is, hopefully, a qualified replacement. I would love to see McLaren and Honda back together, if, the Honda engine is not a detriment. Honda can make a competitive engine. Let’s hope they do.

  4. Girts (@girts) said on 12th March 2013, 8:24

    Those Autosprint magazine covers remind me of teen magazines’ obsession with Tokio Hotel or Justin Bieber.

  5. juergen (@juergen) said on 12th March 2013, 8:26

    I wouldn’t be surprise if Mclaren turns to red and white once again. Besides, it makes sense for them to come back when the new rules go along with Honda’s vision for green and efficient engines. I didn’t know Karun had such a smile. Looks like he was asked by the dentist: “Show me your front teeth”

  6. Mattj99 said on 12th March 2013, 9:17

    Sounds great for Honda – sign with McLaren now for 2015 and have all of 2014 to study the new Mercedes powerplant!

  7. Paul Barrass (@damleda) said on 12th March 2013, 9:29

    Just one comment. In the Lewis article, he mentions about meeting people and making a difference, and I have been to goodwood once and met him and Jensen, and Lewis (from the current crop) was so much better to interact with. He genuinely seems to be personally invested in the fans, and the sport, and was (or at least looked) happy to make eye contact, and actually listen and respond. It reminded me a bit of Tom Cruise. I’ve never liked him, but i love how he attends premieres early, and talks to the fans, takes pics on their phones, etc. It may be done to generate publicity, I don’t know; but either way I really appreciated it from Lewis, whereas Jensen just flicked his eyes up at people and was signing and answering the occasional question. As an aside to this, johnny Herbert must be the best F1 racer for public meets. He is such a brilliantly happy character.

  8. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 12th March 2013, 9:31

    McLaren are definitely moving away from the team I truly disliked for many years, and becoming a team I can actually get behind fully.

    – Ron Dennis isn’t at the head
    – Martin Whitmarsh is a much more likeable character
    – Employing Jenson Button
    – Employing Sergio Perez
    – No more Hamilton

    Obviously, it’s not that I disliked the Mercedes engines, but it seems that they are moving further away from the team they used to be, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them using Honda engines in 2015. Red Bull have the advantage of being the Renault works team, Ferrari of course have the same advantage with their engine, and Mercedes do too, so it would be a very logical move for McLaren to harness a new engine supplier so that they can have the engine to the specifications that would best help their car, rather than that of the other leading teams. Not to mention, that I’m sure this would lead to a change in livery, which would probably be quite appealing to many fans.

  9. Beto (@chebeto0) said on 12th March 2013, 11:48

    “Kimi, Which gear?” -“Whichever you want.” -“Kimi, what do I do?” *silence*
    Worst or best techer ever?

  10. Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 12th March 2013, 13:14

    Kimi , you’ve got to give some tips on how to drive this thing

    kimi : uh , just go ! :P

  11. Oskar (@oskar) said on 12th March 2013, 15:26

    I don´t hate you, Hamilton.

  12. The Limit said on 12th March 2013, 15:40

    I think many people have seen a different side to Hamilton in the past six years, as they have to Alonso, which was not presented to them in 2007. Yes it is a fair point to suggest that Alonso ignited Spanish interest in F1, or that the Spanish people would want to protect him from criticism. Yet the British media too, in all their glory, were no different with Lewis Hamilton.
    The British had for many years been starved of success in F1 until Hamilton came along. There had been other drivers in the form of David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine, Johnny Herbert, and ofcourse Jenson Button. However, Damon Hill’s 1996 title was the last time we had tasted real success as a country in F1. The other drivers I have mentioned all won grands prix, but at that moment in 2007, and never won a championship. Jenson Button was at Honda, and to be fair, 2007 was the year that things turned really sour for them. So much infact that they, as a team, never recovered.
    Hamilton brought optimism, and a return to the kind of hysteria not seen since Nigel Mansell in the 1980’s. Not only was Lewis an obvious race winner, but he was a handful for even the top men in the sport at the time. With Schumacher retiring the year before, every man and his dog expected Raikkonen and Alonso to dominate. Nobody thought that a rookie, even in a car as good as a McLaren, could have much impact.
    It became obvious that at McLaren we had two drivers who were obviously going to be favourites for the title, what transpired was more Mansell/Piquet circa 1987 than Senna/Prost, atleast from a British perspective.
    The British tabloids loved the after effects of Monaco that year. The suggestion that Hamilton had been ordered not to fight Alonso for the win, Ron Dennis trying desperately to convince us that all was rosy between them, a myth banished by the events that were to follow in Hungary. Then, Spygate. Alonso was painted public enemy number one for shopping his employers to the FIA, an investigation followed as did a wapping $100 million fine for McLaren.
    At all times, the consensus was that Alonso could not stand to be beaten by a rookie. That he had believed, by signing to McLaren, that he would be the number one driver. In Spain, the consensus was the opposite. There it was Hamilton, Ron Dennis’ starlet, who was being shown preferential treatment. It was Ron Dennis and McLaren, who had insulted their double world champion by putting every obstacle in his way. Remember China. The race in which Lewis ended up in the gravel and Ron Dennis admitting that ‘we weren’t racing Kimi, we were racing Alonso’. It all but ended their relationship there and then. So, it takes two to tango. Who was wrong and who was right. In my opinion, there was plenty of truth in both sides of the argument.
    With great irony, it is now Hamilton who is past tense at McLaren. Forced out in part because his team mate, Jenson Button, had become too powerfull within the team. Deja Vue indeed!

  13. dot_com (@dot_com) said on 12th March 2013, 16:39

    Love the COTD. I’ve been a Williams fan for a number of years but I’m more optimistic/excited pre-season than I’ve been for a while. Probably one of the most interesting driver line-ups of any team.

  14. Chainsaw (@chainsaw) said on 12th March 2013, 16:52

    Here is an artist impression of the how the livery would look for McLaren-Honda..

  15. JB (@) said on 12th March 2013, 18:13

    These are sensational news if it takes place! Although it won´t be that welcomed by other teams since Honda + v6 turbo power is going to be a deadly combination….
    I really hope this happens!

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