After selling its team in 2008, Honda is set to come back to Formula One in 2015 as engine supplier to McLaren.
When the economy tanked a few years ago, things took a downward turn for Formula One as well. Toyota, Honda and BMW all pulled out of the series in a short span of time, but now Honda has announced its return to the pinnacle of motor racing starting in 2015. With a new 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine formula set to take hold next year, Honda has confirmed that it will be making its F1 comeback, but not with its own team. Instead it will power McLaren, which is cutting its remaining ties with longtime partner Mercedes.
Honda has a long history in Formula One that stretches back to 1964 when, only a few years after producing its first road car, it entered the championship (still dominated by European entries) with its own chassis, engine and team. That initial effort lasted only a few seasons, returning as an engine supplier to such teams as Williams, Lotus and McLaren, propelling the likes of Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost to numerous world championships. After canceling its F1 program once again in 1992, Honda returned to Grand Prix racing with BAR, which it later bought, then sold to Ross Brawn, who in turn sold it to Mercedes-Benz.
The new collaboration will see the team rebranded as McLaren Honda after sponsor Vodafone leaves the team as well. Just yesterday we also reported that the team could switch back to its historic racing color orange, helping McLaren to put its Mercedes era behind it visually as well. The news should come as welcome for Jenson Button, who drove for Honda before switching to McLaren. It also comes as welcome for the series, which was hoping to attract manufacturers with the new engine regulations similarly adopted by other racing series.