Honda confirm F1 return with McLaren in 2015

2015 F1 season

Martin Whitmarsh, Takanobu Ito, 2013Honda have officially announced they will return to Formula One as an engine supplier to McLaren in the 2015 season.

Honda president and 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.

“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.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr Jean Todt, the President of FIA and to Mr Bernie Ecclestone, the CEO of Formula One Group who showed great understanding and cooperation to help realize our participation in F1 racing.”

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “Together during the eighties and nineties McLaren-Honda won 44 Grands Prix and eight world championships. In 1988 we created the most successful F1 car of all time, the all-conquering MP4-4, driven to victory 15 times out of 16 by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.”

“Mclaren-Honda are about to embark on a new and extremely adventure together”, he added. “I’m delighted to welcome Honda back to the sport.”

Honda will return in the second year of F1’s new V6 turbo engine regulations. Whitmarsh’s described Honda’s experiencing building turbocharged engines as being “unequalled by any other car manufacturer currently competing in Formula 1.”

Honda last competed in F1 five years ago with their own team based at the Brackley factory in Northamptonshire which is now used by Mercedes.

Their last three-year stint as an F1 chassis builder and engine constructor yielded a win in the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix which was followed by two years of conspicuous under-performance. Honda abruptly pulled the plug on its programme at the end of 2008.

Honda’s first foray into Formula One came with a full works programme between 1964 and 1968. During that time Richie Ginther won the Mexican Grand Prix for the team in 1965 and John Surtees added a second victory in Italy two years later. But the death of Jo Schlesser in one of their cars in 1968 led to their departure.

They returned as an engine supplier in 1983 and began an enormously successful period with Williams and McLaren during which time Honda-engined cars and their drivers won a total of 11 championships.

Following their departure at the end of 1992 they returned ten years later supplying engines to Jordan and BAR, the latter ultimately forming the basis for their short-lived team.

The deal to supply engines to McLaren from 2015 will mark an end to the team’s relationship with Mercedes, which began in 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,” Whitmarsh added.

“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.”

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134 comments on Honda confirm F1 return with McLaren in 2015

  1. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 16th May 2013, 11:01

    With all the controversy with the tyres this week, it’s great to see something that we can all agree is good news!

  2. K0V4LA1NEN said on 16th May 2013, 11:35

    interestingly the top 4 teams will have different engine suppliers, red bull have Renault, Ferrari have Ferrari, Mercedes have Mercedes and McLaren have Honda (excluding lotus from this list)

    • Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 16th May 2013, 11:49

      McLaren are no longer a top 4 team.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th May 2013, 12:02

        I think that’s a bit presumptuous. They might not be in the top four right now, but that’s only been the case for five races. They can recover – and have done so in the past, like in 2009. So I’d say they’d still be a top four team until they’ve been out for a year or more.

  3. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 16th May 2013, 11:48

    People were all ooooh aaaah when the Williams-Renault combo made a comeback and that has turned out to be a big load of nothing. I think a change of supplier could merely be the continuation of a decline that McLaren seem to be slipping into.

    • SeaHorse (@seahorse) said on 16th May 2013, 12:05

      For me what is pleasing is the entry/re-entry of another engine supplier into Formula 1, than the partnership of McLaren and Honda. Though Whitmarsh highlights the company’s ability with Turbocharged engines, I take it with a pinch of a salt, especially considering that McLaren was the fastest car by the closing stages of last season and yet they have fallen into the middle of the mid-field this season. Who would have thought this would have happened?

  4. Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 16th May 2013, 12:07

    Glad too see a major manufacturer back in Formula 1. But surely this has to be a success, Honda wont do poor performances and niether will McLaren, and given that Honda are going to walk in blind compared to Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes and McLaren wont have engine data from 2014. Its a risk, but it will be exciting. Watched F1 since 1999 age of 3, Mclaren Mercedes is all I’ve known.

  5. Like timi and others have pointed out the timing just seems terrible. I understand that McLaren are looking to move away from Mercedes for political reasons and it’s outstanding that they have revoked Honda who will undoubtedly be a strong competitor in the compact turbo field. But what a pity that McLaren has to develop the first new-reg chassis for the Merc engine. I could be a major disadvantage to not just be one year behind but even have to develop a new chassis all over again. Or so it seems….

    But is it actually possible this a much more clever move than what meets the eye? Imagine that Honda will spend 2014 behind the scenes with McLaren and learn everything they can from the Merc engine in order to create a chassis-fitted replacement directly for 2015? When big money are at stake top minds are in play as well and it might just be that this is the smartest way to get to the top as fast and cheap as possible instead of starting from total scratch in 2014.

    When all of this is said and done; what greatly exiting news! Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes and Honda competing in the same F1 field. Absolutely classic!

  6. sumedh said on 16th May 2013, 12:25

    So what happens to 2014 year for Mclaren? They make a clean sheet design for 2014, use it for one year and then re-design from scratch to fit the new engine for 2015? That sounds wasteful, doesn’t it? I don’t think Mclaren are going to invest much time for 2014 now.

    On the other hand, this explains Mclaren’s decision to make a clean sheet design for 2013. Unlike other teams who will shift focus to 2014, Mclaren don’t have to do that as 2014 is probably a write-off anyways. So may be they decided to build a new design and focus on it the whole year and be really strong towards the end of the year.

  7. sato113 (@sato113) said on 16th May 2013, 12:28

    does the vodafone partnership end at the end of this year?
    could we see a mclaren livery change for 2014 then also 2015?

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 16th May 2013, 13:34

      Yeah, hopefully it’s bright orange so it could perfectly mark where the midfield is :)

    • Sherlock said on 16th May 2013, 13:48

      I guess they already announced that this year is last together with Vodafone and at November(?) they will announce new title sponsor (probably some mexican big $$$ one).

  8. Eggry (@eggry) said on 16th May 2013, 13:11

    Great news, but I’m not convinced Honda’s ability…maybe start of disaster for Mclaren?

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 16th May 2013, 13:31

      maybe start of disaster for Mclaren?

      My friend, McLaren’s disaster started the minute they decided to sign 2 non-top drivers. Or was it when they put Whitmarsh in charge? Even if Honda performs a miracle and brings out some very decent engines, it’s all gonna be in vain without a top driver.

  9. Cristian (@theseeker) said on 16th May 2013, 13:46

    I wonder how the car would look then…

    Something close to this, maybe

  10. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 16th May 2013, 14:07

    Ermmm… 2015. For all practical purposes Honda will be entering F1 as a new engine supplier. I don’t think that any of their past experience in F1 will amount to a hill of beans in their first few seasons. Whitmarsh spews out too much history and contemporary corporate blather with this reunion that I doubt will be able see the light of day on the grid until maybe 2018.

  11. Nickpkr21 said on 16th May 2013, 14:17

    So is the Claro Honda Mclaren or Telmex Honda Mclaren now ? Make sense to switch from EU sponsorship anyway

  12. GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 16th May 2013, 15:48

    McLaren really do like taking massive risks these days, of recent memory we have had the following:

    1) Sergio Perez (when much stronger drivers were around)
    2) 2013 car being a total redesign when no other front runners did this

    Seems strange to be taking on an entirely new manufacturer but I guess they did the same with Mercedes back in the IIRC.

    Not too worried about the history, but I never have been.

    Good luck to them!

  13. Das_Stig (@das_stig) said on 16th May 2013, 16:33

    Poor poor Hamilton. He was trying too hard to be like Ayrton.

  14. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 16th May 2013, 21:09

    A pattern seems to appear with this announcement:
    2008 2015
    Base Works team Driver Works team Driver
    Woking Mercedes Hamilton Honda Button
    Brackley Honda Button Mercedes Hamilton

  15. Jono (@me262) said on 17th May 2013, 0:01

    deal brokered by michibata

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