Honda Motor Company has announced it will return to Formula One racing for the 2015 season as the new engine supplier to Team McLaren. The decision comes as a result of rule changes that go into effect next year and mandate a change from the existing 2.4-liter naturally aspirated V8 engines to new 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 alternatives that will incorporate an even more efficient strain of energy recovery system. Under terms of the deal, Honda will develop, manufacture and supply the entire powertrain package including the energy recovery system, while McLaren will handle all aspects of chassis design and manufacturing as well as manage the new team, which will be called McLaren Honda. McLaren currently is using engines supplied by Mercedes-Benz.
Honda's is no stranger to F1. Its first involvement came in 1964-68 and the most recent was in 2006-2008, both times operating its own factory team with less than stellar results. However, three decades earlier as an engine supplier, it dominated the scene helping Team McLaren and its drivers Alain Prost and the late Ayrton Senna clinch four consecutive Manufacturer's and Driver's World Championship titles between 1988-1991.
"Ever since its establishment, Honda has been a company which grows by taking on challenges in racing. Honda has a long history of advancing our technologies and nurturing our people by participating in the world's most prestigious automobile racing series," noted Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. "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.
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of McLaren Group Limited, paid tribute to the storied past of the two organizations while hoping to see history repeat itself. "The names of McLaren and Honda are synonymous with success in Formula One, 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 One success. Together we have a great legacy - and we're utterly committed to maintaining it."
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