In May this year, Honda announced that they would once again participate in the FIA Formula One (F1) World Championship from the 2015 season, reuniting with former F1 partners McLaren, a UK-based multi-titled F1 team.
This was a big announcement from a company that had gone from having a racing team of their own to supplying engines to other companies. So what’s the reason for this re-entry? How is it any different from the past? Here are five crucial things you need to know about Honda’s re-entry into the F1…
It’s a history thing
Despite it’s hiatus from the F1, Honda has in fact had a long record of F1 projects. Partnering with McLaren, Honda powered cars won victories in the F1 Constructors Championships in 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991. In 1992, Honda pulled out from the F1, gradually turning its focus towards the IRL IndyCar Series. In the mid 2000s, Honda was back again, as an official engine supplier to British American Racing. Then came the GFC, forcing Honda to pull out of the F1 altogether. And now, they’re back again!
What will they provide?
Under the partnership, Honda is due to be in charge of the development, manufacture, and supply of V6 engines and KERS units (for engine recovery), whereas McLaren will develop and manufacture the chassis and manage the new team, McLaren Honda. As Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of McLaren Group Limited, said: “Together we have a great legacy—and we’re utterly committed to maintaining it.”
What’s changed from the past?
New F1 regulations from 2014 means that Honda will be developing powertrain technologies potentially involving hybrid systems and other technologies to make the internal combustion engine more efficient. Throughout its history, Honda has been relentlessly pursuing new developments such as these, particularly with an environmental focus in recent times.
It’s top secret
The area of Tochigi on the island of Honshu in Japan is known for its onsen, its ski resorts, and most importantly for the car-lover, as the place that houses Honda’s Automobile Research and Development Centre. This centre houses state-of-the-art research equipment with a Proving Ground right next door for instant testing! No doubt there’s been lots of activity happening there in preparation for Honda’s re-entry into the F1.
That’s not all that Honda’s doing
Don’t get us wrong, Honda is eagerly expanding its car range for the regular sports car lover too. Indeed, the highly anticipated Honda NSX has recently been confirmed for Australia. As the first car in the world to feature an all aluminum monocoque body back in 1990, the new NSX similarly makes use of lightweight materials along with impressive new technologies such as an all wheel drive hybrid system.
This post is done in partnership with John Hughes.
About the author: Jason Callahan is a freelance writer who is a little bit of a petrol head.