The Japanese manufacturer last competed in the sport in 2008, supplying engines and running with its own works team, but opted to withdraw due to the ensuing global financial crisis putting a strain on their finances. However, five years later, they have confirmed that they will be returning to Formula One as an engine manufacturer, with McLaren signing up as their first customer team.
McLaren and Honda enjoyed an incredibly successful partnership during the late 1980s, with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna dominating Formula One in this period. The McLaren-Honda MP4/4 is still widely regarded as being the greatest ever F1 car of all time, winning fifteen out of sixteen races in 1988. For those with a love of nostalgia, this announcement will stir some great memories.
The move sees McLaren end its long-term relationship with Mercedes, who have supplied the Woking-based team with engines since 1995.
Indeed, the team will be known as McLaren-Honda, harking back to the glory days of the late 1980s.
Martin Whitmarsh was present at the press conference, and spoke to an expectant audience.
“I’m delighted to announce that McLaren and Honda will soon begin a new chapter in our Formula One partnership.
“McLaren and Honda are about to embark on a new and exciting adventure together. I’m delighted to welcome Honda back to the sport. The weight of our past achievements weighs heavily upon our shoulders.”
Rumours have been circulating for some time about the move, and after Honda officials were spotted in the paddock at the Spanish GP, many believed that an announcement was imminent.
The partnership will be begin in 2015.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.