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Honda returns to F1

Getting on track: The current McLaren F1 racer, powered by Mercedes, is not quite up to speed with the big guns, but the British team rarely stays down for long.

Green changes to the formula entice Honda back to F1

Honda logo17 May 2013

AFTER taking a six-year break, Honda will again join forces with legendary F1 team McLaren and return to the FIA Formula One series in 2015.

The Japanese manufacturer bowed out of F1 in 2009, amidst the global financial crisis, partially to pursue greener technologies.

However, according to Honda Motor president and CEO, F1’s impending move to regulate for smaller and more efficient engines with energy recovery systems has attracted the company that powered the likes of Ayrton Senna back into the fold.

“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,” he said.

Honda will develop its engines at its R&D facility in Tochigi, Japan, and McLaren Racing has confirmed it has already begun development of an all-new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 unit.

The management of the new team - named McLaren Honda - will be in the hands of the UK-based F1 corporation while Honda will develop the powerplant and energy recovery systems.

Honda has not embraced forced-induction/direct injection technology for its road cars as readily as many other manufacturers, but systems developed for the turbocharged race engine are expected to eventually filter down to road models in the future.

Lessons learned in KERS development (kinetic energy recovery systems) and other energy recovery methods could also be applied to Honda road cars in time.

FIA president Jean Todt said: “The introduction of the new powertrain next year, in the form of a 1.6-litre, six-cylinder engine with direct injection and energy recovery, is a very exciting challenge and demonstrates a vision for the future of the sport”.

“I am sure that Honda will become a strong contender in the years to come.”

Honda’s involvement in motor-racing hasn’t ceased since leaving the F1 series with successes in MotoGP, Motocross World Championships, IndyCar and World Touring Car Championships maintaining their global presence.

Since its Formula 1 debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren has won an equal number of grands prix (182) as Ferrari, more than any other teams.

CEO of the McLaren Group Martin Whitmarsh called the signing “fantastic news for everyone who loves Formula 1”.

“Like McLaren, Honda is a company with motor racing woven into the fabric of its heritage,” he said. “We’re proud and thrilled to be joining forces once more to take on the world in Formula 1.”“Whilst both companies are fully aware that we’re embarking on a very demanding journey together, we’re hugely committed to the success of the partnership, and we'll spend the next 18 months working together to ensure that we’re fully established and competitive ahead of our first grand prix together in 2015.

“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.

Mr Whitmarsh said McLaren would retain its strong ties to current supplier Mercedes-Benz until Honda took the reins in 2015.

“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,” he said.

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