Honda rejoining with McLaren for return to Formula 1
By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
Honda's history in Formula 1 is long and full of ups and downs. It was the first Japanese manufacturer to win an F1 race way back in 1965 at the Mexican Grand Prix with Richie Ginther behind the wheel. In the '80s and early '90s, their engines were used by hot-shot teams like McLaren, Williams and Lotus. By the end of their participation in 1992, the company had provided power to six constructor's championships, and five driver's championships, including three for Ayrton Senna.
The decision to supply engines to BAR in 2000 - the team started for Canadian Jacques Villeneuve - eventually led to the team's purchase, and then a decade of disappointment. In 2006, BAT became Honda Racing, which didn't improve matters. Finally, the company pulled the plug in '08, selling the team to Ross Brawn, who somehow managed to mate new Mercedes-Benz engines with the leftover chassis to finally create a winner.
Obviously, that debacle left the company with a bad taste in its mouth. So, with Formula 1 moving to small-displacement 1.6-litre turbocharged V6s from the current normally aspirated 2.4-litre V8s, Honda's hoping its expertise in both the original F1 turbo 'era' and the similar setups currently run in IndyCar, will create a winner.
That McLaren is its first confirmed customer doesn't come as much of a surprise. Ever since McLaren split from Mercedes-Benz a few years back, you could tell the relationship was strained at best. This way, McLaren can completely break all its ties with Mercedes while trying to regain some of its '80s glory. However, since the organizational and naming changes with Honda won't take place until the 2015 season, McLaren will have one year with Mercedes' new turbo-six. Here's hoping they aren't lame ducks during the transition.