Ecclestone, FIA Praise Honda’s Return to Formula One
The Formula One community was awash with praise for McLaren after the team made the official announcement that Honda will become its engine supplier starting in 2015.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone welcomed Honda’s return to the sport after a tenuous economic climate forced the company to pull out of Formula One at the end of the 2008 season.
“It is a great pleasure to see Honda back in Formula 1,” said Ecclestone. “Their engine technology and passion for motorsport make them a natural Formula 1 contender.”
FIA president Jean Todt was equally complimentary of the renewed partnership.
“”I am very happy to hear about Honda’s important decision to return to Formula 1 with McLaren from 2015,” said Todt. “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.
“I am sure that Honda will become a strong contender in years to come.”
President and CEO of Honda Motor Company Takanobu Ito cited Formula One’s pursuit for environmentally responsible technologies as one of the key incentives for the Japanese automaker to return to compete in the pinnacle of motorsport.
“Honda has a long history of advancing our technologies and nurturing our people by participating in the world’s most prestigious automobile racing series,” said Ito. “The new F1 regulations with their significant environmental focus will inspire even greater development of our own advanced technologies and this is central to our participation in F1.
“We have the greatest respect for the FIA’s decision to introduce these new regulations that are both highly challenging but also attractive to manufacturers that pursue environmental technologies and to Formula One Group, which has developed F1 into a high value, top car racing category supported by enthusiastic fans.
Mr Ito thanked Mr Ecclestone and Mr Todt for their “great understanding and cooperation” in helping the company realize and continue its racing heritage.
“Together with McLaren, one of the most distinguished F1 constructors, Honda will mark a new beginning in our challenges in F1,” proclaimed Mr Ito.
Fans reacted fervently to the news and took their enthusiasm to social media. Key phrases like “McLaren”, “Honda” and “2015” dominated the top trending topics on Twitter in Japan and in the UK, moments after the partnership was made official.
Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh declared the reunion between McLaren and Honda as “fantastic news for everyone who loves Formula One.”
“Like McLaren, Honda is a company with motor racing woven into the fabric of its heritage,” said Whitmarsh. “We’re proud and thrilled to be joining forces once more to take on the world in Formula 1.
“The names of McLaren and Honda are synonymous with success in Formula 1, and, for everyone who works for both companies, the weight of our past achievements together lies heavily on our shoulders.
“But it’s a mark of the ambition and resolve we both share that we want once again to take McLaren-Honda to the very pinnacle of Formula 1 success. Together we have a great legacy – and we’re utterly committed to maintaining it.
Mr Whitmarsh also remarked that despite McLaren’s decision to change engines to Honda, the Woking based team’s relationship with its current engine supplier Mercedes Benz remains resolute as ever.
“It’s appropriate to recognise that until the end of 2014 we’ll maintain a full commitment to our existing and long-standing partner, Mercedes-Benz, for which we retain the utmost respect and with whom we intend to continue to work diligently and professionally.
“We aim to cap our long-standing partnership with the same ambition and resolve with which we began it: namely, to keep winning.”
Peter is a freelance journalist and graphics editor at Richland F1. His work has been featured in the Australian Formula 3 Series, A1GP and the Champ Car World Series. A contributor to E-Racing Magazine, Peter has appeared on BBC World & AOL's Autoblog Podcast as guest F1 correspondent. He can be found musing about all manner of things motorsport under his nom de plume on Twitter @BaronVonClutch.