McLaren has confirmed that it will form a new multi-year Formula 1 technology partnership with Honda.
From the start of the 2015 season, McLaren's Formula 1 cars will race using Honda engines and energy recovery systems, renewing an association that became one of the most successful and powerful in Formula 1 history during the 1980s and ’90s.
The announcement not only heralds Honda’s decision to take on the challenge of Formula 1 after a six-season absence, but also signals the reappearance of Honda turbo power in grand prix racing. Honda broke new ground in the 1980s by creating a turbocharged engine that was unparalleled in both its output and its efficiency.
Those same challenges have once again brought the Japanese manufacturer back to Formula 1 as grand prix racing adapts to the introduction of an all-new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 formula from next year.
Honda will develop its engines at its R&D facility in Tochigi, Japan, where it has already begun development of its all-new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 Formula 1 engine.
The announcement further emphasises McLaren’s position as one of the world’s most dynamic, successful and attractive partners for major multi-national corporations.
Since its Formula 1 debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren has won an equal number of grands prix (182) as Ferrari—and more than any other Formula 1 team. McLaren has also won the Le Mans 24 Hours race at its first attempt, has taken three Indianapolis 500 victories, and has won a record 43 races in North America’s prestigious Can-Am sportscar series.
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd was founded in 1963. In McLaren's 50th anniversary year, it is a mark of the depth of trust and respect the company enjoys with its many partners that it has within the past few months been able to confirm the extensions of record-breaking relationships with the likes of Hugo Boss (32 years continuous sponsorship), TAG Heuer (28 years) and Kenwood (23 years)—three brands that shared in the glory of the first successful McLaren-Honda partnership between 1988 and ’92.
In recent decades, McLaren has grown to become an internationally recognised, highly innovative group of high-technology companies, its expertise ranging from high-performance simulation to electronic systems to materials science. That breadth of intelligence makes McLaren a particularly attractive partner for Honda, and will enable the two world-class engineering companies to form a highly impactful technology partnership.
Moreover, the McLaren-Honda partnership rekindles memories of one of the most dominant partnerships in motorsport history: Between 1988 and ’92 McLaren and Honda won eight world championships and 44 grands prix, took 53 pole positions and set 30 fastest laps—all in just 80 grands prix.
In 1988, the partnership created arguably the single most successful Formula 1 car of all time: the all-conquering McLaren-Honda MP4/4, which was driven to victory by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in an amazing 15 of the season’s 16 grands prix.
It is against that backdrop that McLaren and Honda now commit to building afresh the strongest possible partnership in Formula 1.
"I am very happy to hear about Honda’s important decision to return to Formula 1 with McLaren from 2015," said Jean Todt, President, FIA. “The introduction of the new powertrain next year, in the form of a 1.6-litre V6 engine with direct injection and energy recovery, is a very exciting challenge and demonstrates a vision for the future of the sport."