By on May 16, 2013

Picture courtesy interaksyon.com

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.

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25 Comments on “McLaren, Powered By Honda...”


  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Back to turbo’s and Lexus entering the fray, things are getting interesting!

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    It’s about time, Honda. We missed your contribution!

    ———————-

  • avatar
    chrishs2000

    Here’s to hoping that the Honda F1 technology trickles down to production vehicles as it always did in the past…

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    test

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Regarding Lexus, what does Akio think? Does he feel there is unfinished business in F1? F1 is a series near and dear to Honda’s corporate heart, so it’s no surprise they’d return. Toyota’s association is somewhat less strong…

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      Toyota did pour a ton of yen into Team Failure. They might want to see if they can make it to at least one podium before Akio calls it a career.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      F1 viewership is in a steep decline, especially in key markets like China where they have fallen off the cliff.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/feb/15/formula-one-tv

      For Toyota, I don’t think it would make much economic sense. And I personally think neither Toyota nor F1 would benefit from their participation.

      …but they have kept their Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Köln operational all these years; though they seem to be more interested in endurance racing. It could be argued that a lot of the current hybrid-powered Le Mans Prototype technologies could be transferred over to F1.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        They made a run at Le Mans before F1, I could see them backing up the TS030 and coming back to F1 fairly easily, especially if they find that the rules remain overly-favourable to diesels (every previous manufacturer to enter a gas-engined prototype found that).

        • 0 avatar
          L'avventura

          The new F1 rules leave very little room to gain a performance advantage from the engine: v-angle is regulated, bore x stroke is regulated, rpm is limited to 15k, ECU is standardized, and fuel consumption is limited. The expectation is that engine differences between manufacturers will be very small.

          The performance advantage will come in the ERS (Energy Recovery System)- kinetic and heat. Which will add upto 161 bhp for 33 seconds a lap.

          There is a lot of overlap in technologies between the F1 and Le Mans now. For instance, the Audi R18 e-tron dominated Le Mans using Williams Hybrid Power (WHP) F1 tech.

          Conceivably, Toyota (and Honda) feel their racing hybrid technology can also be transferred to F1.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            It offers much more opportunity than Le Mans. The diesel vs. Petrol advantages outweigh any hybrid innovations Toyota can find.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            The Le Mans rules allow for considerably more innovation, whether engine, suspension or aerodynamics.

            The diesels have been increasingly restricted each year, and now Toyota’s TS030 is effectively on par with Audi’s R18. In any case, the fuel choice is open for the manufacturer, which is not the case in F1.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            Fuel choice is open, other rules are not. The aerodynamic rules are emphatically not more open than F1′s, in particular with the BHF and BHH’s. The use of KERS is significantly curtailed in comparison with F1, and the diesels still have advantages in boost, displacement and technology content.

          • 0 avatar
            rnc

            The technologlical and funding difference made F1 suck eggs for years, nothing like watching a race where there is a multi minute difference b/t first and second place (cart before that damn indy guy and mercedes bending rules, made so poor teams could run 70′s buick pushrod sixes) was the best mix of techniology, competition, multiple makers (chassis and engines), with only requirements being the displacement and boost regulated, standardization , and those 1.6′s with today tech can probably do about 1200 bhp, this will do wonders for F1, may even watch it again, that and maybe running on a oval every once in a while would be nice.

            Aren’t also going to stop using nitromethane as fuel (think it over $20/gallon in the 80′s, anything that level the cars performance, while leaving room for innovation (what cart used to be) will be welcomed.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    Per regulation, it seems Honda will/must supply other constructors if asked. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see other teams use Honda engines. A red-white livery McLaren-Honda, yellow-blue-white Williams-Honda, and yellow Lotus-Honda would be a sight to see.

    That said, I see no real business justification for Honda’s investment. F1 has never been a real effective marketing tool, success in F1 has also never translated to real car sales. F1 is also targeted at the European market, a market in decline for the foreseeable future.

    Honda’s logic may be that an F1 re-entry would coincide with their new NSX debut. Both the F1 and NSX will use a hybrid systems. Honda may be trying to reestablish themselves as a brand of NSXs, Type-Rs, WTCC, MotoGP and F1s rather than a maker of Fits, Civics, and Accords.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      I don’t know if this has any motivation beyond “we really love to go racing in F1″ at its core. All the other justifications may be what people want to hear, but I think this is very much corporate play/dreaming/vanity at work.

      • 0 avatar
        L'avventura

        Honda is a business and F1 is a business. A company doesn’t invest hundreds of millions because they “we really love to go racing in F1″.

        If you look at Honda’s current car line-up, its glaringly obvious the passion aspect of automotive building is missing. And if Honda loved racing they wouldn’t have bailed out in 2009 before their car won the constructors and driver’s championship under Brawn GP. Honda even paid a £100 million during that season.

        The Honda today isn’t the Honda under Soichiro.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Massa to Mclaren makes sense to me, Honda would love the Brazillian connection. Depends on how much further Macca is going to struggle this year

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      Massa would not be an upgrade on either Button or Perez. They need the next big thing (or a defection from Vettel, the only current big thing McLaren have’t burned their bridges with).

      • 0 avatar
        SomeGuy

        I doubt that’d happen but I would agree. People keep screaming for guys like Webber to put one to Seb, but frankly, Mark isn’t as good, nor is Massa. Massa would NOT be competitive in the McLaren.

  • avatar
    MBella

    It seems that this would be an ironic full circle twist for Button. Left Brawn, the former Honda team for McLaren and now Honda will follow.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    The reason that Honda gave for racing, was that it was to train engineers. Young engineers get shuttled into the racing team, where they learn to make fast and accurate decisions. A number of Honda CEOs came from the racing program.

  • avatar
    jaje

    1988 when Honda joined with McLaren they had a 1.5 v6 turbo and then went on to win 4 straight championships with Senna & Prost.

    Honda does sorely need to figure out how to make a good forced inducted production engine as they are lagging behind the curve and their workhorse sohc 3.5 liter v6 used in almost every car they make (except their hybrids, Fit and Civic and the other copies built off those platforms) is simply not brilliant enough to get the job done.


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