Thursday-afternoon press conferences at Mitsubishi and Nissan remained mostly deserted as the Fourth Estate congregated at Honda to hear the not so secret news that Honda will return to F1. I didn’t go because I thought we don’t cover F1. When I remembered that we now do, it was too late. Did I mention that running around Tokyo covering the auto beat is a world of tough decisions?
Honda had exited the sport in 2009 after what the BBC calls “years of poor results with its own team.” Of course, the global meltdown had something to do with it also. Honda will be back as an engine supplier to the McLaren team, or, as its statement says, “Honda will be in charge of the development, manufacture and supply of the power unit, including the engine and energy recovery system, while McLaren will be in charge of the development and manufacture of the chassis, as well as the management of the new team, McLaren Honda.”
Formula One will introduce a blown 1.6 liter V6 engine with energy recovery systems, a move that fits into carmakers’ plans of disengaging from 8 cylinder engines.
With Nissan drinking Red Bull and Honda powering McLaren, all eyes are on Toyota. There are off and on rumors that they might be back as Lexus, but nothing official yet.