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Honda return to F1 in 2015 as McLaren engine supplier
McLaren Honda
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 May 2013   |  8:57 am GMT  |  328 comments

Honda will return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier with McLaren in 2015 to revive their famous partnership which brought domination of the sport in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The Japanese company had its own team between 2006 and 2008, but during that time, it managed just one win – the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix with Jenson Button – and the manufacturer ended the project at the end of 2008, as the global economic crisis struck.

However, Honda has been lured back to the sport by a change in the engine regulations from 2014, with 1.6 litre hybrid turbo engines, which are core business for Honda, replacing 2.4 litre V8s, which are not.

“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, ” said the Honda president Takanobu Ito today.

“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.”

Honda will need to supply a second team on their return to the sport and the word in the paddock at the Spanish Grand Prix was that Sauber is top of the list. But as Honda’s engines are likely to be subsidised – or at least highly affordable – while other rival engine supplies, particularly Renault, are expensive, there is likely to be a scramble among teams to get the second supply.

With the change in engine regulations from next year, there is going to be qute a shift around of engine suppliers with teams. Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn is meeting with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in Paris today to discuss Renault’s involvement in the sport amid complaints that its turbo engines are too expensive. Williams is believed to be looking elsewhere, while Toro Rosso is joining Renault to align it with sister team Red Bull Racing and Marussia is heading to Ferrari.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting told JA on F1 at the start of the year that manufacturers who are not supplying engines in 2014 will not necessarily be able to attend the engine makers’ Technical Working Group meetings – something Honda would benefit from if they were allowed to attend. Mercedes will be nervous about protecting its Intellectual Property on the turbo engines during 2014 when it is contracted to supply McLaren even though there will be Honda engineers embedded at Woking.

The partnership between Honda and McLaren in 1988 was the most dominant in Formula 1 history, with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost winning 15 of the 16 races between them. Between 1988 and 1992, they won four drivers’ and four constructors’ world championships together.

The company made it F1 debut in the 1964 German Grand Prix and secured its first win at the Mexico Grand Prix a year later before withdrawing at the end of 1968.

Honda returned as an engine provider between 1983 and 1992 and then started another stint with BAR in 2000. That outfit became the Honda team in 2006 but they quit the sport, handing the team to team principal Ross Brawn who went on to win the title with Jenson Button the following season in a Brawn-Mercedes.

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Although I am excited about Honda's return, I don't think McLaren is the team they should partner with. Their alternating design team philosophy each year is backwards and costs them championship points and championships in general. McLaren refuse to evolve a car over multiple seasons (especially seasons with consistent rules, as in 2012-13), and stubbornly insist on reinventing the wheel each season. That's why they're in such a s*hole now and why they haven't won a WCC since 98. Along with spygate scandals and such.

Personally I think Honda should return with Enstone (Lotus) as their works team. The void left by James Allison's departure from Enstone is big, but by hiring Nick Chester from within and teaming up with the engineers at Honda, I think they could make a formidable challenge in the new V6 turbo era. Especially if they manage to keep the Iceman aboard.

But the news is good for the sport to have more OEM's participate.


Why not both? Then I'd be annoyingly excited! 😀


Maybe Honda can supply Williams and Sauber too. Bruno Senna could be back to Williams and Kamui Kobayashi to Sauber in 2015. They are doing a very good job in WEC, mainly the former, and could be back in single seaters late 2014 with Formula E.


Definitely right.

Didn't Lotus-Honda have a good run?

Renault 'works' team is Red Bull, and that is not going to change soon.

Lotus gets regular factory engines.

If I'm Honda, I want to get a credible second customer for my engines, and Lotus is the best team available by a long, long way; and I do believe that they are available.


It is very unfair to blame McLaren for the spygate scandal. All F1 teams spy on each other, sometimes blatantly, as in this pic with a Lotus engineer snapping photos of the McLaren rear suspension:


Needless to say, there were no bans, point deductions or fines.

The FIA boss at the time, Max Mosley (better known as Mad Max) had as deep a hatred for McLaren as he had an infatuation with Ferrari. Thats the only reason the McLaren case was hyped like somebody had died.


Agree with you 100%.

I thought McL paid 100mil fine - which I think was unnecessary and ruthless towards a team so dependant on F1 for survival.

Max was a dictator towards McLaren and Ron Dennis.


I agree with the general sentiment of your comments, in particular Max v McLaren. However, there is a significant difference between taking a picture of a rivals car and possessing over 700 confidential documents belonging to another team. Not the least of which, possession of the documents was illegal!


As a long time Mclaren fan I will be sad to see Mercedes go. I am also excited to see the return of Honda. Honda failed as a team but the quality of their engines was never in doubt, IIRC the Honda V10 in the BAR was rumoured to be the most powerful before the reg change in 2006 and then the cap that effectively made all the engines the same.

I agree with you that their alternating design team philosophy is ineffective and strange to say the least. I have no idea how long they have been operating in that way but if you think back the odd years, the 07 car was a Ferrari in disguise, the 09 car was a dog till the end of the season when Hamilton hauled some results out of it. The 11 car won races but didn't exactly set the heather alight. Now the 13 car looks to be on par with the 09 one. Compare that to 08, 10 and 12 where the cars were successful. This may just be coincidence but I think the odd years design team needs sacking!

I understand the benefit of being able to develop your current car without hindering the progress of the next one but going from the fastest car for the last few races of a year to mid table where there is virtually no regulation change is just a complete failure.

Compare that to the Red Bull. To the untrained eye the RB9 looks exactly like the updated version (not the one with the pointy nose) of the RB5 from 2009. They even basically admit that the car is a development of the old one, their philosophy is clearly "if it aint broke don't fix it"


Chris I think the Honda thing is a big thing for Mclaren and surely could bring out the best in them given their past relationship.

Personally I would prefer Lotus stay with Renault because any change as dramatic as this will take a while to gel. Of course this is all $ valued as well so anything could happen. But I think Williams is the other perfect team for Honda with their past relationship and also Williams work with energy recovery systems for the automotive industry would be a great technical working relationship. Also it's good for Honda to have a strong front runner, midfield and even a tail end team later to see its relative performance gains.


I suspect that McLaren evolved their car in preperation for 2014 car design. Which they would expect to dominate for a much longer time period. The 2013 car is not an evolution of 2013 because it is a test bed for the 2014 car design.

That said McLaren therefore must not expect to win the Championship with Button. So button will train Perez, then in 2014 with the Honda power they will get a top driver with honda Money!!!

Then the McLaren-Honda domination II will begin.

Ron Dennis is a smart fellow.


Oh well, just another wild theory then. McLaren is in bad shape period. Witmarsh better get his CV ready!!!


McLaren switched to pull rod suspension for this year, which is unlikely to be carried to 2014 design because of the low nose regulations.

Thus, your point seems invalid.


They will get Honda engines in 2015, not 2014. So is that a 2 year gestation period then?


I have never read or heard any reliable information of what you are saying... other than in the McL fan forums.

Infact, for 2013 McL thought a lot of teams will take a stab with a new design and were very surprised (and caught out) that it wasn't the case. If anything, they will be in the same page, or even worser start (because of their 2013 car status) compared to other teams. The regulation changes are so vast that you just cannot carry the front part of back part of the car over to 2014... sounds very silly and unMcLaren like...


I don't think McLaren operate their alternating design strategy any more. I'm pretty sure they abandoned it after their dismal 2009 season and from 2011 onwards the cars have been designed by the same team.


You are correct, they don't do that any more. That's part of the reason they had three decent years in a row from 2010 through 2012. They're off the boil THIS year because they opted to change the platform a year early so that the new design philosophy would be fully bedded-in BEFORE they had to deal with the new power train regulations.


@Quade: Except:

1) The front suspension, not just pull-rods but also high wishbone angles

2) Higher chassis and all the aero changes that brings

3) Integrated rear drive-shaft

I agree the rest is minor, but those three are pretty large. #1 makes tuning the suspension very different, and #2 basically invalidated all of the aero models they have been using with the low nose cars of the past many years. (and I remember THAT from the discussion a year or two ago when the high-chassis, duck-billed noses started and McLaren didn't have one, and one reason quoted was that they didn't want to invalidate their aero data library).


@Quade Except the front suspension, which is the main change.


There is nothing of fundamental importance in the 2013 car for them to carry forward to 2014.


Utter gloss having Honda back in F1.

Interesting point you make about Honda choosing McLaren. Perhaps Honda will throw some money and tech at McLaren and a top four driver would help (I love Button but..)

People complain about companies not being in F1 for the long haul but I kinda like the changing dynamics of F1. Like this Honda come back its exciting.


I agree with you completely. McLaren have turned into the laughing stock of F1 and it is sad to see. They are such a boring team and they need to wipe out their current management and start afresh.

I would also love to see them take on a young driver who is willing to take a few risks and go bezerk on track. Obviously there will never be another Senna but someone with a bit of charisma and speed would do wonders for their team. As nice as Jensen is, he is utterly boring and Perez hasn't really done much, I think he deserves a little more time though.

At the end of the day the current McLaren team has NOTHING that would make anyone want to support them (unless you're a mad Jensen/Perez fan.)


In reply to Joel, I would certainly not advocate sweeping the board of McLaren management and starting again.

I was extremely surprised when Sam Michael was recruited to a more senior role at McLaren having left Williams after their ever-worsening performances.

I'm no insider but it was obvious that McLaren must have known that Williams was failing despite Sam's efforts and not because of him.

As for Martin, he has support from the management with one serious exception and, as I've said, the overall performance achieved over the last five years would normally have been good enough to win a championship or two.

The only problem for McLaren - and Ferrari - has been a certain A. Newey.

I would not change the management at McLaren, maybe they could strengthen the technical side but generally it's a case of trying even harder with what they have.


@Tom, "...never seems to pull some magic out of nowhere..."

I agree his style is not visually spectacular, but I think for example his drive in montreal 2 years ago was one of the most magical moments in F1 history.


Hmmm you guys make some good points, I was probably overly harsh on McLaren. I guess I just want to see them doing well again. I do like Jensen I just find him really boring as he never seems to race hard or pull some magic out of nowhere and his whinging has gotten a lot worse lately, mind you - no worse than some of the other drivers on the track.

To be honest, I'm just really exited that we finally have another engine manufacturer in the game soon 🙂


Tom, no just no.


I agree with Monza 71 and PeterC.

There are 2 examples in recent years where the great teams prove their value over what casual observers believe is a downwards trend.

Mclaren this year and Ferrari last year had poor starts to the season. Alot of people reasoned that both should cut their losses and concentrate on the following years car. This as early as the first GP.

Yet Ferrari almost won the WDC last year, and as inspired as Alonso was, Massa by season's end was proving how the car had developed.

The top F1 teams will overcome all problems with hard work and sheer bloody mindedness, it's in their DNA


Thats true. Theres some fickleness in the way we tend to see things in the present only.

For example, a lot of people slate McLaren as being useless for not winning a WDC since 2008. At the same time, people hail Ferrari as a successful team, because they are currently at or near the front, despite not winning a WDC since 2007 (even worse than Mclaren).

The long and short is that both Ferrari and McLaren are historically successful teams. Both being first and second in terms of F1 victory statistics.


Completely negative comments.

ALL long-term F1 Teams have had problems in their histories. The challenge is to solve them, but many people are quick to rubbish Teams for lack of success - as though the easiest thing in the world is to just design a car that wins.

If the car doesn't win ,then the all-knowing "fans" call for the sacking of the Team manager, the drivers in place at the time, the design-team & in the case of McLaren, the previous Team manager who has been running the company for over 30 years.

Roughly the same applies to Mercedes, according to many posters on JAonF1, but in that case the Team manager is one of the most successful of all time, having won more WCC/WDCs than anybody in the pitlane.

How long will it be before another Team is the "laughing stock" of F1? I can remember more than one period in the past when Ferrari were were the "laughing stock" with poor reliability, ropey drivers & pit-stops where mechanics ran around like headless chickens.

They're not laughing now.


@Bob, it amazes me what people write here, where, WHERE in my response and I 'begging' or even suggested that Bog Ron comes back? I don't even mention him once! Have you just made that up to make your post sound more incisive?



"I do agree that Whitmarsh has had his day though, it’s not just about the poor to average cars, it’s also about the 100 points the team cost HAM last year. At the end of the day, Whitmarsh is responsible."

Give me a break Wayne. Whitmarsh has been in charge for only 4 full seasons, the first of which, 2009, he had to do it with a car that was designed under Ron Dennis.

Prior to that the very bloke a lot of you are begging to come back, Ron Dennis, was in charge and how long ago was it they he brought the last WCC home for McLaren?


Same applied a few years ago to Ferrari (Remember them calling for Domenicalli's head?)

Same applied to Lotus before they started really hitting their stride (Lost track of how many anti-Boullier chants I saw)

Same is/was applied to Mercedes.

Fans really need to get a grip and have a little more patience


I too am very frustrated with McLaren and this is not even the first terrible car in 4 years at the start of the season.

However, I completely agree that McLaren are certainly not a laughing stock, they have the strongest race winning pedigree in the entire field. McLaren will be back to form in short order - we can all expect their 2014 car to be right up there with the best, especially as they are likely to divert resource away from 2013's car in short order.

I do agree that Whitmarsh has had his day though, it's not just about the poor to average cars, it's also about the 100 points the team cost HAM last year. At the end of the day, Whitmarsh is responsible.

At the end of the day, for the last 10 years, McLaren win a lot of races but next to no championships and part of that is down to their philosophy.

It's also fantastic news to see a 'new' engine manufacturer in F1, regardless of who they partner with.


I don't think it's that unfair to say that the current management team has had a fair crack since Ron Dennis stepped aside. It's been unbelievably frustrating watching how many wins and places they've thrown away for a number of years now. It's getting close to needing a wholesale change of philosophy.

I actually think hiring Perez was a smart move, I love the guy's agression, but what the team needs is a headline 'number 1' signing; the kind of driver that brings with or attracts the finest engineers in the world, just as Schumacher did with Ferrari.


Tom, you either have a short memory or are too young to remember that all great teams have down periods. Compare McLaren with that other great team, Ferrari :

Ferrari were absolutely nowhere before Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher came along and just look at Williams today.

Mclaren have a strict policy on team orders, allowing their drivers to compete and that has cost them at least one Championship. For this alone they deserve more respect than Ferrari.

Remember that McLaren won the WDC with Lewis more recently than Ferrari and finished ahead of Ferrari in three of the last five years in the Constructor's Championship.

Remember too,that last year's McLaren was the fastest car by the end of the season.

The grid is now so close at the top that the slightest performance deficit in a new car is going to drop a team from the front of the grid. Yet to make headway the teams sometimes need to take risks with new designs.

For McLaren this has not worked out this year, but they deserve credit for taking the risk.

McLaren is most definitely not a team that could remotely be regarded as a laughing stock. If it wasn't such a tragedy, Williams would be a more likely candidate for that title but actually it has to go to Caterham.


Laughing stock?

Surely, you can't be serious. Yes, McLaren is off the pace this year, but the year is far from over. Let's wait on pronouncing the patient dead until it has no pulse. If history is any indicator, they will find improvements as the season goes on. They may not be fighting for wins, but they also probably won't be at the back of the field.

If there's one team that has really fallen (I won't say laughing stock), look at Williams. Given their history, they have really been in a prolonged slide for quite a while and this year look like they've got it horribly wrong.


I have to agree with the majority of what you have said, but there are a couple of points I would like to disagree with you about:

"McLaren have a strict policy on team orders, allowing their drivers to compete and that has cost them at least one Championship. For this alone they deserve more respect than Ferrari."

I understand that it is big risk to take, and all credit to them for doing that, but if it doesn't get them anywhere then I don't see why they should get more respect than Ferrari for that.

"Remember that McLaren won the WDC with Lewis more recently than Ferrari and finished ahead of Ferrari in three of the last five years in the Constructor’s Championship."

True, but on 2 of the last 3 years they have become much closer to the WDC than McLaren.

"Remember too,that last year’s McLaren was the fastest car by the end of the season."

And it was for 2/3 of the year, but they messed much of it up.

Other than that I have to agree.


Sorry WCC not WDC for 16 years


@ kartik, Ferrari won a WDC with Scheckter in 1979, with Schumacher in 2000. 21 years

Most people forget, Ferrari won the WDC in 1982 and 1983, their next victory was 1999, 16 years.


Monza, I certainly don't share Tom's view (in its entirety) here. But, by saying "Ferrari were absolutely nowhere before Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher came along and just look at Williams today", you sort of agreed to Tom's idea of "wipe out their current management and start afresh".

McLaren is no laughing stock - their depth and breadth in engineering in second to none. However, their focus and execution is not as brutal as Ferrari. Tom is partially correct in that.


How many champinoships has Ferrari won recently, right Tom?

But this story re-enforces a few things. I think this down period is engineered a bit. They are giving up on a few seasons to mount an assault a the start of this partnership. Currently, I really look at McLaren as = to Williams. And it's quite sad really because both have really fallen from grace.


Agree completely.

It always amazes me how fickle many people are. McLaren can pull back, just have other teams have done in the past. In fact I'd say that with the right funding and the right management in place almost any team is capable of developing a race team over several years that is capable of challenging for dominance. The situation at any one time is only an indication of relatively near future performance -- not the long term potential.


+1 Precisely for Ferrari it took 22 years to take a World championship in Drivers and 21 Years for Constructors


Strict policy on team orders? Well I´m sure David Couldhart will disagree with that.

And also Perez. Last race he was told to stay behind Button with the excuse of the tyres

Kevin McCaughey

Surely Lotus will be using a Renault engine?


Actually, that is still to be announced, even for the next season. But while Mercedes has said that they'll increase the ammount of engines ( e.g Williams will have Merc' engines from next year and on), Renault will supply less teams. Toro Rosso will get Williams', so it's likely Lotus will be the one switch, if the maths should be correct. I hope of Lotus/Honda AND Mclaren/Honda, I cheer for both, and I love Honda!


actually theyre probably the most likely of the current Renault teams to change. Given Red Bull's works status until 2016, sister team Toro Rosso likely to join, current manufacturer ties with Caterham and rumoured future ties with Williams. Lotus is left out in the cold if Renault want to stay at 4 teams. And like Honda theyve recently lost works status to a rival team. Signing with Honda or someone else wont get that back for Lotus but it might give them an edge over Red Bull still.


I'd like Lotus to use Ferrari engines..

Have Honda got any other teams in mind for their customer engines? Ferrari were saying it's good to have multiple teams using your engine, obviously they pay but also from an R&D point of view. Is it only Maccas with Honda power so far?


Plus it will likely save them a bunch of dough. Renault F1 has priced their engines the highest of all, no doubt in part to trim the number of teams they're supplying.

Honda will come in cheaper than them surely. Just don't know where they'll be relative to other teams (right now, in terms of estimated costs for an engine supply, it's Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari).

Always better to have more engine constructors. Yes, we have Cosworth, but they're not really a serious contender as Honda will be. Lotus-Honda is a big name pairing from the past. After all, it's where Senna forged his successful partnership with Honda.


I note that overnight Bernie has let it be known he'd like to see BMW back in F1 as an engine supplier.


To continue to my previous comment, saying that Lotus is the works Renault team is like saying that Mercedes is the works Honda team.


Darren, what makes you think Lotus is the works Renault team? Renault sold the team to GenII and they have a works contract in place with Red Bull.


Red Bull is the works supported Renault team now


Actually Williams, Caterham and Lotus are unhappy with the Renault asking price. They'll have to bring their price down soon, and hope the LMP1 regulation changes make these engines competitive there, thus encouraging more customers.


Renault have said in recent interviews that their preferance is for three teams and with red bull the current defacto works team that leaves them and new signings torro rosso confirmed.


Lets not forget Lotus is the works renult team, they only changed their name after they got caught cheating at Singapore . Doubt they will change


will they sign Bruno Senna and Nick Prost to drive? then it would be nostalgia overload!

Mclaren will benifit from being a works team again.


Bruno Senna and Nicolas Prost are expected to drive together in Formula E. But the brazilian could have a (realistic?) chance to drive a Williams Honda in F1...


Will Honda insist on having a Japanese driver in one of their supplied teams as they have done in seasons past?


They may not be a works team tho. The rules state that engine manufacturers must supply more than one team if asked to do so.


You can still have "works" teams even though they supply multiple teams. For example, Red Bull are Renault's works team, while Lotus, Williams and Caterham are all customer teams.

Stephen Taylor

That's weird I thought the Enstone team used to be called Renault did it not?


Im more excited about the Sauber Honda, sounds cool


Bring back the red and white livery too and maybe, just maybe the sky will be the limit. This could be what McLaren need to get them out of the stagnant possition they find themselves in.

I'm sure Mercedes will be happy about Honda technicians seeing there technology for the new spec engines next year.

This is an exciting prospect, I just wander how long they will commit to F1 this time round as they are not know for long-term participation.


I see a lot of behind the garage squabbles between Honda/Merc & Mcl next year, may be something more 🙂

I'll sure have some popcorn in hand. One thing is for sure, all 3 will constantly be in news over the next 2 years for reasons other than racing... unfair but true.


I'd image that every Merc engine will have chaperones/guards at all times, justified as I believe the manufacturer retains ownership.


Manufacturer retains ownership? Surely not. Are the engines purchased or leased?


Yes, I can imagine Honda techies turning up with audio recorders and portable x-ray machines. I think Mercs tech is doomed to be stolen.

Craig in Manila

Not sure I agree with the last line.

Honda did about 5 years in the 60s,

About 10 years early 80s to early 90s,

Then about another 7 or 8 years leading up to the GFC when they bailed-out.

I would suggest that their history indicates that we'll be seeing them on the grid for quite awhile.

Lets hope they go mad and start their own factory team as well as supplying engines !


Sauber is currently for sale right? Quite interesting that already at this point in time there is suggestions that Sauber will be the 'second' team to get the Honda engines...


The engine doesn´t make miracles all by it itself. They need Ross Brawn as team principal and James Allison as technical director and maybe Kimi as well. It doesn´t look like at this point


Ross Brawn is a great man with outstanding successes behind him, but as we get older sometimes people lose their edge or find other interests they want to pursue. Health is a big issue, as once you pass 60 there's more chance problems will arise -- with the person or the family. But everyone is different.

Ross will be clever enough to know when someone else has more potential than him and will back away. He's already reducing the pressure on himself. The great thing is that experience and wisdom can make up for a lot. Ross is surely well-supplied with those qualities.


This is great news for Mclaren and F1.

I have been very critical of Mclaren over the past couple of years but I am really pleased for them as this will be a massive boost both for them and F1. It may well take them now till 2016 to start being competitive but it will definitely be fun to watch.


the past will always remain in the past. they are only using past stories for marketing purposes. results from Honda returning will have absolutely nothing to do with their past.

i hope toyota and bmw also return.


Yes, the old McLaren-Honda days were mentioned a few times back in the BAR-Honda and the works-Honda days. It didn't do them that many favours then, and it could well be the same story in 2015.

I hope it isn't, though.


I agree. Mclaren Honda was a great combination. It certainly didn't hurt them that they employed 2 of the greatest drivers ever.

But how quickly people forget the Mugen/ Honda adventure which annexed a handful of wins after the Mclaren years.

1996 Monaco GP with Ligier and the 1998 Belgian GP with Jordan. These were not dominant wins, they were fortuitous wet weather ravaged results.

Even the Honda win with Button in Hungary 2006 was rain affected.

I'll be interested to see how this will work, as there is not the freedom in design that allowed their engineers to dominate over 20 years ago, the rules are too stifling.

Welcome back to an iconic name all the same.


Speaking of fortune: Let's not forget that Button's Honda win was gifted by the Renault pit crew not bolting Alonso's tyre on correctly while having the race in his pocket.

Stephen Taylor

Those victories for Ligier and Jordan were with a Mugen Honda engine not a full works Honda effort but I suppose you're half right.


I'm a glass half full kind of guy, I can live with being half right, lol


Yeah I agree with this to some extent. However the beauty of this is the common drive for really efficient ERS which forms such a valuable portion of the power train as well Hondas long term goals. Which I think Honda will revel in. I think they will start with handicap to the current big 3 simply due to fine benchmarking details the others have - but will come on strong thereafter.


James do you think Honda can push for a Japanese driver Kamui?


Honda have history in this sort of matter.

But as far as Kobayashi goes, it's my view that Takuma Sato would be more likely to get a seat.


Unlikely with Mclaren. Button has a huge following in Japan.

Anyway, Honda wanted Nakajima in the Williams back in the 80's and Williams refused, hence he ended up at Lotus for a few years.

If as rumoured, Sauber gets Honda engines, then his return is more likely.


Button would be getting on a bit with age by 2015, this year or next could be his last.


Kobayashi is attached to Toyota so it won't happen.


Why is he still attached to Toyota? Its not like Toyota is even letting him have a seat for their Le Mans challenge?!? They rather have dud drivers like Anthony Davidson, if they stuck Kobayashi, Loeb and Glock in 1 of their cars they could win Le Mans.


Sebastien Loeb is a rally driver isn't he? Are you thinking of Sebastien Bordais?


I actually think Davidson is a very underratted driver he does well enough in endurance racing and use to be faster/outperform Button back in the Honda days in free practice.

I recall arguing one time on some other F1 forum that he should replace Button on race day for a race or two just to see how he'd get on.

Some faces just don't fit in F1


I´m not so sure he is attached to Toyota. Right now he is in Ferrari with their GT Racing Team. Unless there is some agreement between Toyota and Ferrari


I would like to see Kamui back. By far the Best Japanese driver ever in F1. At 26, he's certainly young enough for a return in 2015. Perhaps the Perez-Kobayashi combination will ride again?!


I would rather go after Vettel for 2015, or try to get Kimi to come back. Signing James Allison is a must if they want to get a champion.


Does Kamui has the sponsors to be in McLaren? Besides although I love Kamui he is not Lewis nor Kimi


I wouldn't be so sure of that, Kamui was faster than Perez but always had rotten deals on strategy probably because Sauber always wanted to pleaee Carlos Slim the sponsor of Perez but on pace and overtaking Kamui has the measure of Button, but at the end of the day will Honda make a better engine than Mercedes and Ferrari? Doubtful they need all the edge they can get in research over the next year.


Good!!! However that won´t stop Button from moaning about tyres, pace, his team mate and everything in between.


Just like every other driver then.


Umm that statement applies to about 75% of the drivers on the grid...


No Kimi just says -" there ok" even if he was driving on rims & guess what- he would still be on a podium 🙂


Just wait until 2015. He will say he has oversteer or something... Well if he still around.


And if he does say it, it'll probably be because the car has oversteer. Gonna let you in on a secret: the Team Radio is how the drivers feedback on the car so that the engineers can come up with solutions, so the drivers are SUPPOSED to report any issues and not just 'drive around them' as they might be symptoms of bigger problems the engineers need to know about. Shocking I know.


Yeah and Hamilton will still say 'Man, I had no idea what went wrong today! So Weird!'

And Vettel will still say,'

'I couldn't push because of the tyres, but if they had built my tyres right I would have been the fastest out there...'

And Alonso will STILL say,'

'Yes I won by 95 seconds but as I have the 7th fastest car we will need to push that much harder next race...'

And Kimi will STILL say,'

'It is what it is...'


Well you get the idea. No doubt you will still be on JAF1 complaining about Button complaining. Ironic... 😉


Button is right about tyres.


Maybe so, but I think it's time for him to move on from McLaren.


Apart from the fact that Jenson has a contract, other than Kimi, who is free to move for 2014, what other experienced driver would be a) better and b) available to replace Jenson ?

Mark Webber fails on a)


Why ? because Lewis is not there to push him along and teach him how to drive and use the tyres..lol

Stephen Taylor

Cuuld this be the impossible dream made possible for Mclaren?


I don´t want to hear him complaining about tyres in Canada nor in other race. But I doubt it.


Honda, Honda

Faster, faster

Beach Boys


That was in reference to a motorcycle.

Honda wasn't selling cars here in the States in '64 when that song was written.


Unfortunatley, I didn't start making jokes until after they started making cars. 🙂


Inexperience is always the handicap of youth 🙂


Wow very exciting news here, I'm really glad these new engine regulations are having the desired effect and attracting big car manufacturers into the sport. This can only be a positive for Formula 1, and for McLaren and Sauber in particular.

Now think how the grid in 2015 will look, assuming their aren't too many more changes in between now and then:






These are historic teams and historic associations, and personally I love seeing them all tied up and back together. The future is bright indeed.


Porsche could return too, now that the sad tyre saga is ending.


Amusing that in your list of historic teams, there's no mention of Red Bull. Yet they wield so much power these days..


Yes just a minor detail Hero .. Lol. Perhaps it's because they are "Infinity" now and not Renault. Go the Nissan I say or is that Datsun- as Clarkson will no doubt be calling them!


Red Bull? Historic?? They were Jaguar, then Ford before that.

Torro Rosso have a much greater past than RBR, at least in terms of duration... 😉

Stephen Taylor

The were called Stewart before Jaguar not Ford. Though that said Jackie had huge backing from Ford.


Red Bull may "wield a lot of power" but they are not a historic team which is what he was referring too.. I don't think anyone would lose much sleep if Red Bull left F1. They are probably one of the least popular teams on the grid, unless you're a Vettel fan.


I'm not a RB fan, but i'm positive that even if RB would decide to quit the game next year; people are still talking about that team over the next couple of decades, that during the 2010period was from anorher 'planet'..

It was called Red Bull and they scored 6 consecutive titles.


It's amusing that you think Red Bull should be included in a list of historic teams.

How long have they been around?


BTW Mike, I consider Schumi Era at Ferrari to be historic. How long ago was that?



I think they are making history. As for historic, it simply depends on the timeline you consider. Would you consider 90s William and Benneton and McLaren hystoric? Just on their own without any prior achievements by those teams?

Well, Stewart Grand Prix was formed in that era. So they touched a bit of that history.


+1 for JA!

F1 is not a hooligan type of sport and we don't need it too..

If that is what you like, whatch football/soccer..

In F1 we respect all drivers and teams for what they do and try to achieve.


Sebee they have achived a much less than Ferrari and McLaren. RB has 3 championships.And its gets even worst for them if we add the championships Lotus won during the Chapman era. In the future RB could achive a lot more but right now it is not the case.RB still has a long way to go


Please stop constantly bashing Button (or anyone else for that matter) or your posts will be discounted - Mod


SEBEE - that does not make them historic!


And what have they achieved in the time they've been around?


Sorry Mike, that wasn't what I was suggesting, as in my answer to Dylan above.


Red Bull is anything but historic in my book. They are just a glorified sponsor with vast wealth. They might be the flavour of the moment but I wouldn't shed a tear if they departed or were re-branded..


Had RBR of bought the lotus name instead of that malaysian guy would their team be more historic, would you then love them as you do alonso. If i buy the title King of England shall you bow to me. This is silly really RBR came up with the engine map job great idea ..... got banned, they have been working their exhaust pretty nicely ......... stunted/ to be banned. Im not sure what their getting away with butif its about the tyres alot of teams and drivers wernt happy and Pirelli themselves said it was thier decision and as they were paid to come up with 2 or 3 stop races they were obliged to correct their mistake.


I's sorry, the sarcasm obviously didn't come across.

I was just making a point in reference to what RBR are getting away with currently. Yet having no heritage to speak of.

Ferrari has history dating back to 1947 as a manufacturer or 1923 as a competitor.

Mercedes has an even longer, though interrupted, history in top level Grand Prix racing.

Williams Renault dates back to 1989, Mclaren Honda to 1988 and Lotus Renault back to 1983. I'm old enough to have seen that Lotus combination at Silverstone and Brands Hatch that year.

I hope that clears my point of view up


Likely the worst kept secret in F1 currently, there were reports months ago that Honda and McLaren were in talks, and it is no secret that McLaren have been annoyed with the lack of priority with Mercedes. Good news nonetheless.


yes. I agree.

I heard rumours about Honda's return as engine supplier with Mclaren as far back as October/Nov last year. He claimed that it was already decided at that time. But as a regular reader of all rumour mills I saw nothing of such substance. This guy I never gave credibility for, claiming that he knew people at Mclaren and Honda... I dismissed it as a BS back then. I now know better I guess...


Impossible to know how this will turn out initially. History shows how difficult it is for a newcomer to get up to the level of those already established, whether that's a new team or new engine manufacturers, etc.

What I'd like to know though is, are these new engines to be homologated and fixed early on in 2014? Because if so then the extra year for Honda could allow them to perfect their engine more for the new car designs and learn from the other engine suppliers, both in terms of errors others may have made and perhaps in learning any development tricks from them.

If the other engines are fixed and Honda have more time to perfect theirs, then perhaps they could come up with something strong in 2015. And surely they will have some knowledge of Mercedes 2014 engine from McLaren... 🙂

My gut tells me though they won't be on par with the other 3 suppliers when they arrive.

Still it's good to have them back! 🙂


I imagine several Mercedes engine maps slipped under the Honda doormat by a Mclaren postie.

Stephen Taylor

Also in that extra year they could develop and engine that is more powwerful . The homologation rules only apply for those who will be supply engines for 2014 . Although if Honda develop angine with a significant power advantage then that rule on freezing engine development will be made a mockery of . This as others will have to equalise themselves with Honda.


Hi James great piece as always but as Honda are not coming in till 2015 what will merc do to stop them looking at there engines in 2014 and using that knowledge to improve there engines for the 2015 season as you would expect with the development merc have been doing on there power plant Honda's access would be a big advantage? Love to know your views on this?


The engines supplied to McLaren (or any other team) will be sealed units. Mercedes and other suppliers don't allow the teams to touch the motors. If there is a problem they are shipped back to the manufacturer. The only thing Honda will be able to see is the outside of the engine. Pretty sure this won't reveal any internal secrets. So much of the engine is regulated now that there is not a lot to play with. Turbo location, mounting pattern, V angle, c.g., etc. etc. are all defined by regulations. Mercedes might be unhappy, but Honda won't find out much except performance.


You wouldn't believe the amount teams can learn just from engine noise recordings. Thats how Red Bull, Lotus etc were bursted for illegal maps. In fact Red Bull has been repeated bursted from audio recordings alone.

F1 engineering teams also use X-Rays, ultrasound etc.


Actually, Red Bull's engine maps weren't technically illegal at Hockenheim last year, the regulations were changed to stop them.


James what's the story with sauber moving away from Ferrari ?? U must have an inside scoop


Not, just a discussion point. They are a candidate for second Honda supply.

But I imagine Ferrari will be very keen to keep them on board...


I get the points about the power plants being sealed but mclaren must get some engine data from merc so if Honda was to see this it could be an advantage


I'm very interested in this also.


A mighty welcome to Honda on their return to the biggest show in town.

Honda and Mclaren go hand in hand like bread and butter, lets just hope these two can turn back the clock of time by reviving the good times (however, if you were to ask me, I would have gone with Renault because of their good track record e.g. rarely do they have failures)

Now, if only the Honda works team weren't rash in withdrawing from the sport in 2008, not only would they have been world champions but they would have had a chance with the new regulations coming in 2014.

Okay seeing as Honda have stepped up to the plate, the question remains, what engine manufacturer will Mclaren take up next for by the looks of it, Honda aren't the till-death-do-us-apart type for on average they seem to stick around 8/9 years.

Anyway, quite interesting that Sauber too are thinking of hooking up with Honda, it seems the F1 insiders know something about the new generation Ferrari engines and that it's not too encouraging if I may say so.


No one can say how competitive any engine is going to be at this moment in time. The only reason Sauber may or may not be looking to Honda engines is price.

Looking back at the previous Honda foray in F1 from 2000-2008 they were widely regarded as the weakest engines in F1 well behind the pacesetting BMW/Ferrari engines. However I think they maybe more competitive this time around as the 1.6 litre is more their type of market.

On a different note it is excellent to be welcoming Honda back, I really hope more manufacturers will follow.


Renault don't have any failures? One word: alternator!

How quickly we forget, eh?


Renault have proved quite reliable - ok the alternator was an issue. My only concern for Renault is the fact that they still lag behind in KERS output compared to Merc and Ferrari from all Ive read.

On the flip side you have to give them credit for being able to use their power really well tuning and calibrating them nicely for each circuit. Lotus particularly in Australia for having the speed but not breaking traction more than twice in Kimis hands is very fine tuned. That said horsepower will come to the fore in 2014 -Renault must come to equal terms with the others.


Did you notice that goferet said 'rarely do they have failures' as opposed to 'Renault never have failures'?

The alternator failures in the Red Bull/Renault would come in to the 'rarely' category, I feel.

Were those alternators made by Renault,or by Magneti Marelli or some-such, even Ducellier?


Renault themselves make the alternators.

But they are usually impeccable in recent times.

But one fail in 2010 I think and 4 in 2012


Fine. 'Rarely' still implies Renault is a better choice because their engine package (complete with all parts Renault chooses to bundle with it) is more reliable than the others... which, going by the last couple of seasons, it isn't.


It was Magneti and Red Bull dumped them this year.


I don't agree that Honda would have won in 2009. Brawn changed over to the Mercedes engine that year which, supposedly, is the benchmark.

Honda were heavy, thirsty and not too reliable prior to that.

Regards Ferrari. I have written before why people automatically assume that Mercedes, Renault and now Honda will be better.

Mercedes had incredible engines, designed by Mark Illien of Ilmor back in the late 90's. When the FIA banned the use of Beryllium they suffered unreliabilty for some years until the 18,000 rpm limit was introduced.

Renault, even to this day are not considered the most powerful engine on the grid. How many times have we heard RBR having top speed issues?

We haven't seen anything from Honda yet, but people remember the Mclaren Honda years, forgetting that they remained in F1 with Mugen and then latterly they rejoined as a works outfit.

From the time they left Mclaren, they have won a total of 3 races, Monaco 1996, Belgium 1998 and Hungary 2006. Incidentally all wet races with numerous accident retirements.

Since the re-organisation of Ferrari in the late 90's, they have never lacked for power or reliability. They were as strong as BMW in the early 2000's and possibly more reliable. They have measured up to every engine ever since. Why do people feel that Ferrari, essentially an engine company is going to suffer?

If your thinking is along the lines of they have no small engine turbo technology, may I remind you that they are part of the FIAT group which has extensive experience in all engine design.

The Fiat Power Trains Group, headed by Paolo Martinelli (ex Ferrari engine designer) have extensive knowledge of turbo charging small engines for power and economy. They also have a history of ground breaking technology which has transformed modern cars.

Modern common rail technology for diesel was developed between Fiat and Magnetti Marelli for example, before being sold on to Bosch due to major debts within the FIAT group. Yet most people assume it was developed by the VW group.

I'm not worried by the engine in the red car, after all unlike Mercedes, they have raced in F1 with small turbo charged units before.


Sorry, but I don't think anyone could touch the BMW engines in the early 2000's


The Mugan-Honda in the back of Frentzen's Jordan in 1999 went quite well - in championship contention until late in the season I seem to recall.

Grayzee (Australia)

Ahhhh......Goferet and Hero.....you two really crack me up! 🙂 I love reading your arguments, but i reckon seeing both of you face to face for a debate would be awesome!

Keep up the good work! LOL


RBR have speed problems due to high downforce aero on their cars. They also have a high chassis and 70mm rear ride height

Just nit-picking. Lol


+1 Like them or not ( I don't). Ferrari have always built exceptional engines. Mercedes powerful as they are are always on the limit of reliability.


I doubt Mercedes will be happy with the thought of Honda technians tearing apart their 2014 engine next year!


I'm pretty sure only Mercedes technicians tend to the M-B engines supplied to McLaren (and their other customers). No one from Honda will be allowed near their power plants.


Button waxing lyrical about working with Honda again but isn't he out of contract in 2015 having renewed for 2012 for three years? Is he assuming a renewal?

Anyone have firm data?


I do remember Rubens and possibly Jenson say in 2009 when Brawn was formed and they got Mercedes engines about how much better the new engine was compared to Honda, how much more power and drivable it was.

Jenson praising Honda and showing is excitement now looks mere PR to me. Wonder why has Honda chosen to come back, a year later into the new regulations and stakes very high. If they under perform, it will be counter productive and bring them bad publicity.


Surely, because a Honda engine was not as good as Mercedes five years ago, doesn't mean that it will be exactly the same (inferior) in 2015.

No need for gloom just yet, I'm sure Honda will do their best!

Stephen Taylor

Thwn again if they rout the the field...it's all ifs and buts


He has a three year plus deal, the plus referring to options to renew. He has indicated his willingness to exercise those options (saying he hopes to stay with the team till he retires), as has Whitmarsh, who described his hopes for a long-term McLaren/Button partnership possibly even AFTER Jenson hangs up his helmet. He's unlikely to go anywhere, especially with the Honda deal - JB is a huge asset to them, very popular in Japan through his long association with Honda, his partner Jessica Michibata and of course his cultural interest in the country (Ichiban!)


Good point. I would have thought that Button's feelings about Honda would be... mixed, to put it mildly.


Well, finally!!

I anticipated and expected this when I first heard of Honda returning to F1.

Smells like 1988 to me...


Yes, but are Perez and Button going to be their Senna and Prost?


Definately not.

They can hardly match the Professor, not to mention Ayrton who was from another galaxy.

But when was the last time those kind of drivers were on the grid?


Perez and Button aren't even their Alonso, Vettel or Raikkonen!


It was the two great drivers that made the 1988 year what it was. McLaren is clearly missing that today...


In the sense of winning what they did, I'd agree, although Mansell and Piquet with Honda, dominated in similar manner.

To be honest, Honda raised the technology bar re: engines between 1986 and 1990.

Renault spelt the end of that period and began to dominate, practically forcing Honda out. Technology has moved on massively in the intervening years, look at Honda between 2000 and 2008, they never replicated what they had done before as the tools available to all teams had moved on so far.

I'd imagine with the restriction of the rules, governing engines, their engineers won't be engine designers, more likely electronic experts. The reason? Because the new KERS system will be where performance gains will be made. Smaller batteries, more efficient use of energy. Hopefully Luca is right, it's a more engine concentrated formula.


Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn is meeting with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in Paris today


Taking into account Bernie is famous for not giving discounts, I don't see how he would expect Carlos Ghosn to do likewise.

This is a wasted trip, I think.


Except in his doddery old age, certain circuits have managed to get hosting fees reduced.


Don't know about that, they have helped Renault before, I think Renault are one of the reasons F1 is changing engines next year


Wonder how this will affect the relationship with merc engines next year, merc won't want Honda getting all thier technology


So if Honda will also supply Sauber, and Toro Rosso are switching to Renault - will anyone other than Ferrari be running Ferrari engines? Do the rules force Ferrari to supply another team, or are they excluded because they're a constructor too?


Force India to Ferrari still being discussed


There's been talk that Marussia may get Honda engines too, as they already use the Mclaren wind tunnel and have their power train attached to their car. Or did I misunderstand?


No, I think it's Ferrari


What about Force India? I´m asking because of their well known economic trouble at the top. And Mercedes may charge them for the new engines. McLaren made this move because Mercedes said they want to charge teams for their engines


Ah yes, I forgot about them! Thanks


Most posters do not seem to know that McLaren had a long & successful history with Honda.

History seems to count for nothing, except the memory-span of the last race.


Problem is, Peter, a lot of the new posters who have signed up here in the last year are not real enthusiasts with an in-depth knowledge and respect for the history of the sport.

This is the reason I stopped contributing to another large F1 Forum which had become swamped with mindless fans ( mainly Ferrari worshippers )and spent more time on JAF1 where the quality of the debate was very much higher.

For the record, there are no "rubbish drivers in F1 nor are their "rubbish" teams.

The quality of engineering at the back of the F1 grid is at least as high as at the front of the grid in any other branch of Motorsport.

With the possible exception of one or two pay-drivers, the same is probably true of the drivers as well.


Rubbish is a strong word. Having say that I would like to know why Max Chilton (just to give an example) deserves to have a seat in an F1 car more than Kovalainen or Timo Glock. In Fact Kovalainen was just brought back by his old team as a test driver. But why they rush to finish their relationship with him in the first place.

Grayzee (Australia)

Uh hah! Someone who makes sense! Thankyou MonzaF1. Yes, unfortunately this forum is fast going the way of some of the others, with some of the petty biased arguments that are posted. Everyone has their favourite team or driver, but that doesn't mean the others are rubbish. F1 is still the pinnacle of motor racing and will attract the best of the best all the way up and down the grid. It's a pity some of the posters on this forum can't respect that and give their views accordingly.


+1. In fact, + a billion. The lack of objectivity in the comments section on JAonF1 now compared with three or four years ago is simply staggering. And, quite often, not very enjoyable to read or contribute to


As a new, what I would call fan to F1 that doesn't mean I don't know the history.

One of the things that fascinated me about F1 in the first place was the way they got so much power out such small engines. Including the Honda engine in the late 80's.

As far as the quality of the drivers, well the field isn't deep enough and the barier to entry too high for us to really know they are the best in the world. Especially on the heals of some pretty spectacular flame outs with F1 refugee's in NASCAR. Juan Pablo comes to mind, along.

Speaking of pay drivers there is Kimi's pay driver days in NASCAR.


I actually like Kimi quiet a bit, but thought that pretty funny.

PS People should be racing trucks what are my countrymen thinking?


Oops thats Shouldn't be racing trucks.


Racing history doesn´t count much for Mercedes. But the name or trade mark Mercedes Benz is huge all over the world and that has been the case for decades. You don´t buy an Honda if you have the money to buy a Mercedes


Japan's 280ps regulation era was like a mini-formula in itself at the consumer level. Honda won that fight with the NSX-R, extracting sub-8min at Nordschlife. Their sports cars are renowned as the best purist driver's machines to come from Japan. They are one of very few companies who take a true racing car design approach to their sports cars. Mercedes road cars are completely the opposite. There are plenty of people, especially skilled drivers, who have chosen Honda over Mercedes.


Well I know a lot of skill drivers who have chosen Audi over Mercedes or a Land Rover. The ones with enough money to buy them. The more working class people either Renault or VW. The last I heard Sebastian Loeb didn´t win all his championships driving an Honda. Other brands copy Honda technology? Of course. But that doesn´t make Honda the most popular brand in the world


Yeah right... As though the ceiling of Honda's engineering capability is the Integra Type R... Honda are globally renowned for groundbreaking engineering wizardry and have been for decades.


Well I don´t know about you. But when I´m driving I see a lot more Mercedes, Audi and BMW in the streets and roads than Honda or Toyota.


that's a joke.

MB has nothin like an S2000 or other similar very high reving engines.

Not to mention motorbikes...

You see, not everyone thinks MB is the be all end all...

Yes, its very good and tops if you want an S class, but there are other types of automotive glory... even in the market 🙂


Joke? Excuse me!!! I don´t know in what part of the world you live but in Europe if you drive in the streets and roads you will see a lot of Mercedes cars, small models, big models and trucks. Turn your t.v. and tell me if see more advertising about Honda cars than Mercedes cars


1988 to 1992. So over 20 years ago.

It's almost like saying Mercedes have a long and successful history, before Rosberg and Schumacher, the team last employed Stirling Moss and JM Fangio.


Yes, I understand that. However, there are posters who are saying that McLaren should have no entitlement to Honda engines because their history of success is poor.

What I was trying to point out is that Honda & McL have done business before, therefore know about each other - which means that there is an element of trust between them.

But as Random 79 says - history counts for nothing.



That is a valid point, and regardless of their current form I don't think anyone here has the right to say that they're not entitled.

Every team has a slump. Hopefully right now is the low point for the McLaren team, and hopefully for the McLaren fans this deal will signal the start of a revival, but time will tell...


To be realistic, history does count for nothing - just look at the Silver Arrows past and present for a case in point - but this deal will put a smile on the faces of the romantics...and if they can achieve half of what they did together in the good old days it will be a smile a mile wide.

Best of luck to them 🙂


This is absolutly brillant news, would love to have another engine supplier aswell maybe american, no coincidence that we now have 2 U.S. GPs and smaller engines. Hey James is there any signs of any other suppliers coming to the grid. 5 suppliers with a max 2 teams per supplier and 10 teams on the grid would be ideal I think. I think F1 seems more relevent with support from the car manufacturing Industry.


I don't wish to sound patronising or facetious, but have Americans embraced small engined cars?

They have famously always preferred their huge sedans and to my knowledge diesel is for trucks?


Ford have lots of history in F1, and living in America I can tell you there is a definite shift towards smaller engined cars. As with the American people more and more shifting towards smaller cars, it makes sense that the US manufacturers are moving to provide smaller engined cars. And as they need to overcome perconceptions about smaller meaning much slower and unsexy with the general wider population and what better way than F1.


You are welcome. You are correct in your point though, and I forgot to add that.


I spent a few years in America so I know a thing or two. At the time Ford and GM were making bad car that consumed a lot and expensive fuel Americans turned to japanese cars like Honda and Toyota being Toyota the winner. However when it comes to trucks and SUV GM and Ford always dominated. Americans still use fuel over diesel and they love their big cars and trucks. I would say that women and youth may like smaller cars.


Much appreciated


The uber-hip have embraced Fiat, and they have done a great job of marketing their 500. However for many people they remember the absolute unreliability of Fiat, Renault, and Peugeot so they still have some trust to build for many.

Also Honda's 4 cylinder engines are very popular here.

Ford is having some success introducing their V6 Turbo's even in the truck market. The 1/2 ton F150 Echo Boost sells very well.


Thanks for the reply


No i was saying that Honda being back is because of the US GPs as they sell more cars there than they do in for example Bahrain.

As for another manufacturer, alot of american brands sell cars in europe and see it as a key growth area. Ford for example are very sucessfull outside the us. Also in the major population centres on the coasts you see more and more small engined cars. 2/5 of all of toyotas hybrid engined cars are sold in the US and It is not inconceivable that a US car manufacturer might enter the sport with the intention of drawing attention to the Kers system which while by no means a hybrid, the additional power collected from heat expelled is stored as an electrical charge. Anyway I would also welcome the return of toyoto, BMW or any new entrant for that matter.

Also i believe you were trying to be patronising as otherwise you could have just said you dont agree and thats cool, but posing a statment as a question is a good sign of someone being patronising.

Anyway enjoy the Monaco GP, your hero won it six times, probably the only record Michael left him with. I think MW will win it myself, he goes good around there and RB have a decent car for that track.


Ah about the records ok, well obviously with the untimly death of AS we will never know what other records he would now have and that makes the fact that this record survived all the more amazing. He was a truly remarkable racer, its a shame you didnt get to see him or MS in his prime for that matter.


Hey Forest,Im not sure what MS has to do with this post but all the same its great to see a Young F1 and if you continue to watch the sport (and hopefuly with the death of the dreaded 2013 Pirelli tyres you will)you will realise that reliability is a huge part of F1. In the 2012 European GP where MS finished third FA only finished first thaks to a failure from SB who was leading and he would almost of certinly have been relegated to second by RG but for his failure. Now that dosent diminish a fernandos win its just part of motor sport.


Michael was great because ofalison at Benetton and brawn at Ferrari.

He was good I'll say but his comeback speaks for itself.

One INHERITED podium and one pole that he lost due to a penalty.

By the way, I'm only 13


good news for Mclaren. engines for free which releases a lot of development budget plus the Honda engineers will ensure the engine is designed around Mclaren needs. Will certainly be intersting to see how the Mclaren / Merc relationship develops over the nex months!


Since they are rolling back the clock, they ought to see if Kimi and Lewis can be bought back too.

They might win then


Maybe Lewis by the end of 2014 will have racked up 20 poles and a couple of podiums and will be fed up of the fact that Mercedes are incapable of making a car that looks after it's tyres. Just saying...


I wonder if the thought of driving a Mclaren-Honda will entice Lewis back to drive a car like his hero's?


All the interviews that I've heard Lewis give since leaving McLaren suggest that he left on good terms. I suspect its a long shot but Mercedes could do a lot worse than build a 'World beater' in 2014...otherwise he may want to follow his hero


I read a recent statement from that Neale guy at McLaren, saying that a Lewis return would always be on the cards should he wish too.


You really think Honda engines are better than Mercedes-Benz AMG


Mercedes engines must be better as they are from Brixworth? The old and brilliant Ilmor plant?

Stephen Taylor

Well we will find that answer out won't we?


A big change for 2014 season (for every team) and then again a very important change for 2015 season because of a new engine supplier. Is the season 2014 already gone and buried for Mclaren?


It'll be great to see Honda back in F1, I only hope McLaren's aero team can produce a chassis that can do it justice. Their record has been a bit spotty since Honda were last in F1.


Hi James,

You mention the "need" for Honda to supply more than one team in 2015 - is this a new regulation mandating engine manufacturers to have more than one team on their books in future, or is this more of a necessity for gathering more data on their new powertrain?

Incidentally, as excited as I am about these two great marques reuniting in a couple of years, I think I'm more excited at the possibility of this partnership leading to the return of the excellent 'Impossible Dream' advert during ad breaks... 😉


I know it wasn't exactly the best kept secret of the century, but kudos to James and the team for bringing us this information well before it became official.

I don't think I'd be speaking just for myself if I said that credible inside information is just one of the many reasons why we come back to this site 🙂


I'd throw in blogs that are objective, stick to the facts and informative to that list.

Keep the news coming James


Once Asahi Shinbun newspaper reported it in Japan a few months ago, you knew it was true as Honda has always leaked its future news through that channel going back decades.


I would love a Kobayashi and Sato dream team on the grid for 2015.


"nice" replies. I see that in some ways the UK is still a long way behind the Americas.


I hope that team will have plenty of spare parts to rebuild the trashed cars then.


The bill for spare parts would wipe the company out the amount of times they crashed. Wold need 100 front wings a season.


This should be a great combination in theory. Honda will get a fill year to see what other engines are doing, and probably great access to the Mercedes lump that will be in the Macca next year.

McLaren now just need to find at least one top shelf driver. Just don’t see Button as a top 4 driver in F1 and he is only getting older.


Excellent news ! Although Mclaren may not have won much in the last 14 years, but they have undoubtedly produced a vast number of competitive cars in this period. Infact, apart from Ferrari, i cannot think of any other team that has consistently brought out championship fighting machines so frequently as Mclaren have.

Honda couldn't have asked for a better partner than Mclaren. Now all Williams needs to do is plead to Toyota to adapt them.

Craig in Manila


So far it seems that Honda are only interested in returning as an engine supplier.

Any gossip/thoughts re the possibility of them starting a factory team again ?


More chance of being struck by lightning!

Stephen Taylor

What are the chances of Raikkonen and Hamilton ever rejoining Mclaren...as team mates?

Grayzee (Australia)

about the same as Honda returning as a maunfacturer, i reckon! LOL


Marrying the Honda name with Williams would evoke some nice memories, too...


I think Williams is going in a different direction


I'm going to sound like a pessimist, but the only direction Williams seem to be going is down, but I hope I'm wrong.


The word is that Williams will be turning towards Mercedes, right?

Marcus in Canada

...and what would that be? Continuing with Renault?


What do you reckon- sticking with Renault.? I would like to see them work with Honda. Or is it Williams work with hybrid systems and other car companies -that may be the limiting factor?


Different direction?


Could it be TOYOTA the next one....???


You mean as a team or just engine provider? As a team I don´t think so. Bernie doesn´t seems to like the idea of having more teams. This year for example. HRT out but nobody else in. As engine provider it could be. Although I don´t see what team could be interested


Why not? The windtunnel they built is apparently still the bee's knees -- which should say something about the budget of F1 teams in the last few years...

Just a thought!


Off topic, but I could never understand Toyota. From everything I've read, Toyota were not lacking in resources and their equipment was top draw. Was their failure due to poor Management?



Beyond that, it has repeatedly been proven that throwing money at a car rarely produces victories in itself.


Top drivers maybe?

Tornillo Amarillo

Checo Pérez a Champion in a McLaren-Honda!

Go Checo!


Ah! That old RA 108 in the picture is so much easier on the eyes than the fugly ones we have today.


Fantastic to have the news confirmed.


I personally dont see Sauber changing, although anything could happen i suppose. Could it be then the rumours are centred on Honda being interested in Sauber, or is it definitively that Sauber are the ones interested in Honda?

Curious also on your thoughts on whether another manufacturer will generally help the teams sponsorship bottom line with more manufacturer money, or if it will generally hurt them as more engines equals more development money needing to be recouped.


I think it would be financial if it happened. Hondas will be much cheaper.

Could be positioning. If Ferrari fear losing a close political ally they may lower the price.....

Stephen Taylor

Do you think we'll ever see a a time in history where Mclaren will agree a deal a Ferrari engine after Honda maybe?


Wouldn't happen as the PR/Road car perspective is way too negative.


Well...I can't believe this is actually happening. Excited, but cautiously optimistic.

I hope this focused effort will result in better results than in the past.


At the very least they better get the paint job right. 🙂


What is this, an arts competition?

Alright! Let's do it.

All submissions due before Monaco Grand Prix. Winner gets to watch the Monaco Grand Prix from best seats ever - their trusted living room sofa! 🙂



...I meant if we win...


Does this mean I we win you'll give us a sofa?

Best competition ever!!! 😀


I'm glad to hear that Honda's motivation to return has to do with applied technologies, and transfers to [and from] road cars. That's how it should be...

...which is more than I can say about blowing exhaust gases over/around/near diffusers. This is technology that no car that my children or grand-children will buy, will benefit from. As such, the significance that these barely comprehensible technologies have in F1 today, is absolutely unacceptable.

I'm not particularly fond of hybrid road cars, to be honest. I think a good diesel is a FAR better and more reliable way to go. But ANY change in F1 that has to do with building something us mere mortals can use, is surely a good thing.

Now, let's see some low-profile tyres, for Pete's sake!


Legends says,History does not repeat itself.

There are not many if any successful comeback

in any sport arena.

2014 is a new ball game in F1, no freezing

on R&D of the Engine,2/3rds of a current

aerodynamics will go by the window.

Its almost funny, most contributors to J.A

site presume Ferrari will not be comparable

lets say to Mercedes, Renault or who ever.

Fact.Right from the beggining Ferrari is

renown for its "Engines", simply the best.

There have not been a dud engine made by Ferrari as yet, however we shall see in a

little more of nine months which car is more

potent in 2014 F1 grid.



The timing is quite bizarre. How does Mercedes will cope with that situation during 2014? How are they going to control “technical leaks”?

We know how good the Japs are doing copy/paste/develop…on that specific order.

Any thoughts on this?


Perhaps Mercedez will give McLaren the engines on friday? They have to come up with a way to make sure a Honda engineer doesnt have the time to take the engine apart and reverse engineer it.


Do you think thats why they may go with Sauber? So they can see the Ferrari engine to?


They are very concerned


Are the engines not worked on by Mercedes people anyway? As in, Mercedes have people working with the McLaren and Force India teams, Renault have people at Red Bull, Lotus, etc. etc.

Of course it wouldn't stop McLaren from learning a lot about it, but the people who actually pull the thing apart and put it back together would be Mercedes people, no?


I don't have real sympathy for Mercedes. As the saying goes, 'what goes around, comes around'.


Hate to ask the question, but could this end in the courts?


This brought back a few 'what if' memories from the build up to the 2009 season. What if executives at Honda hadn't pulled the plug at the end of 2008? Would their still be a Honda F1 team today? Probably not but you never know.

As for their re-emergence, could be ground shaking.


By the way...I wonder if Honda could step up for 2014 if required. Seems like there is time.


Also, it's of course not even just the turbo'd V6, as there's also all the KERS (or whatever it'll be called) side of things to consider.


Well, I say this because it would probably be better if McLaren tested out the engine. Not like Honda is new to engines, or a V6 Turbo.

Mercedes won't be happy giving them their baby to play with for a year knowing they are switching either.

Which makes me wonder if they are announcing 2015, but if they meet the deadlines and get it done in time, maybe they will do it for 2014. I'm sure everyone would be happy if that was achieved. Mercedes would probably let McLaren out of the deal early, maybe would even pay them to terminate early as to not give them the engine for 2014 around which Honda dudes will probably hang out day and night.


It might seem a long time, but if you consider they'd REALLY want to be running for winter testing, then the time off the team would need to do their end of things to build the car around it, the time to design, build, test, refine, test, refine, test, refine, test, test, test, and finally build a season's worth of engines... I'd be amazed if they could be ready in time for 2014. This isn't just taking one of their old engines and reworking it a bit to fit the newer regulations. It doesn't just need to perform, it needs to do it while running leaner, and while being more durable. Isn't the engine count for the year dropping, or is that to come later on?

Plus, is anyone else even without an engine deal for 2014 apart from Marussia (who're looking to go to Ferrari).


Also bring back Marlboro as title sponsor and sign Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna as drivers.


Will they allow engine development or not is the question. If you're not allowed to make many (any) changes to the engine once they are frozen then I don't know how attractive this remains for an engine supplier interested in innovation and possible road use of F1 technology.


Very important point


Fantastic news, this will bring interest in F1 back to Japan.

I bet the Honda v6 will scream loader then everyone else's engines. I remember their V8 was ridiculously load.


Hey James /informed or opinionated brethern, looking at all the teams engine commitments it looks like in 2015 every engine supplier will be providing for two teams except for Renault who will be providing for five (red bull, torro rosso, williams, catherham and lotus) with Renault recently saying four teams was too much and their ideal number would be three teams who do you think they will drop?


I think Williams is moving, there have been rumours about Lotus too


Hi James

You've mentioned several times here that you think Williams are going in a different direction but you don't mention who you think will supply their engines. Any more hints? Ferrari seems unlikely, so that only really leaves Mercedes?


That would seem logical


James, you don't know how excited I am that Honda is coming back into the sport. I love the site, but you really went wrong by putting a picture of that god awful monstrosity of an Earth Dreams car in the heading!!!

Serrared Edge

James, how competitive will the new Honda in 2015 be?

Will it be capable of producing race wins for Mclaren when other engines will have a 12 month head start?


Hard to say sitting here now.I'd expect pretty competitive. The gaps will be bigger from 2014 onwards than they are now, that's for sure

All revved-up

Please delete my comment.

I meant to respond to Monza71 comment one post number 1; but pressed the wrong button.

+100 McLaren may have made a bad call for 2013 (their chance of winning the WCC looking remote), but to view them as the laughing stock is harsh.

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Guess some heads will roll.

I look forward to McLaren being back in contention for race wins. They may need a driver change though. Kubica?

All revved-up

I hope we see a:

Williams - Toyota; and/or

Sauber - Lexus (Hulkenberg/Kobayashi)

If Honda are back, Toyota can't be far behind?


@Spyros you are correct about the desiel being better than today's hybrids and electric cars. Right now it is pretty easy to set down with a customer interested in a "green" car and switch them to a desiel or even a 4 cyl gas (petro)unit. When you factor in the batteries, the electricity for charged cars, the minimal amount of fuel mileage increase, the total cost of ownership... anyway you get my point. The fact is though that as racing exploits these hybrid techs that might change. Personally I don't thing anything is going to be that green until we switch to hydrogen in the future and by then it will be global cooling that is all the rage, just like it was when I was a kid.

Congrats to Honda and Mclaren for finally admitting to the parents they were really kissing out on the back porch.

Now if only Toyota and BMW would come back.

Soto was mentioned above and he just won his first race in Indycar with an engine that is similar to the new specs. My understanding is that he has matured in his driving style and has been very quick so far. How does this compare to Formula one? Well I have no idea, even though top speeds on tracks is similar I have no idea how good the competition is. Also they all run the same ugly car.


That the Diesel Vs Hybrid equation might change thanks to the new engines... sorry, power units, was my point. Like them or not (I don't) technology might make hybrids a good idea, one day.

I'm a bit sceptical about hydrogen... a good idea for buses perhaps, but cars? Don't read too much into Top Gear, what they neglected to mention was that storing the stuff in your car OVERNIGHT you will probably loose most of the hydrogen in your tank, because the cell will need to run to keep the fuel cool.

Meanwile, James Allen featured a quasi-electric car a year or so ago, whose batteries were being charged by a small on-board jet engine... the test car was just a converted people-carrier, with all its seats in place, capable of 100+ miles to the gallon! Now that's something I'd buy into and who knows, maybe even Clarkson would buy into the [somewhat muffled] jet noise!


Nuclear powered then :).


'Congrats to Honda and Mclaren for finally admitting to the parents they were really kissing out on the back porch'

Sums it up perfectly 🙂


Hi James, In your opinion would the Brawn car have still won the title with the Honda engine in?


At a conference a couple of years ago Ross Brawn said "Probably not, but then I would say that because I'm employed by Mercedes now!"


Probably not. The Mercedes was a significant upgrade.

But that means nothing for 2015 onwards - don't forget that small capacity hybrid turbo engines with the accent on fuel efficiency are core business for Honda


It's great news for F1 which has become very controlled and narrow focused in the rules- this brings a diversity of supplies and different technologies back to F1. I believe this will see lots of different strategies and performances in racing in. 2014 - maybe some teams very close and others world apart- we can only hope.

Surely Mercedes will be wanting to control the intellectual rights on engines specs next year. Possibly even insisting on more technicians watching their engines at Mclaren.

Could we have another spygate drama in F1 with all this new stuff flying around.!

I still hope one day that we see Porsche enter the fray maybe with their own works teams only when F1 succeeds with the new formula and start working to reduce costs beyond 2015.

Danny Almonte

Honda has been an F1 failure since their return. They returned at around the same time as Renault. They tried a wide angle engine like Renault and failed. Renault dropped the wide angle engine and became a manufacturer. Honda followed suit. Renault went on to win two championships. Honda poured in money and continued to lose. It took a Mercedes engine to make Brawn GP into a world champion after Honda abandoned ship.

It's a nostalgic return for Honda but I don't expect any miracles.

K. Chandra Shekhar

Why don't Mercedes stop giving engines to Mclaren next year so that they cannot be copied.


Because there is a contract in place!

Liam in Sydney

It is interesting how Mercedes has allowed themselves to be manouvered into a position like this. You would have thought they would have thought further ahead and only signed a contract for one year less. I bet the Mercedes board has some interesting questions to the sporting head honchos over all this.


The deal to 2015 was signed long before the engine regulation changes were mooted, let alone set in any sort of stone. There are no questions to be answered.


This story now confirmed still makes me shudder for Mclaren - I look at the Williams/ Renault today and recall their dominence when I started to get into F1.

Has any team/engine partnership ever hit the sweet spot twice - I cannot remember any.


In the recent era McLaren Honda, McLaren Mercedes and to a lesser extent even McLaren Ford


I mean a partner ship which weas successful over two seperate periods.

The Mclaren/Honda partnership as had one good spell but can that success be repeated - Williams/Renault have failed to repeat their dominence which ended after 1997.


pre-orders for the NSX are being taken..

it comes out in 2015

it has a V6 turbo electro hybrid (with electric motor torque steer)

Road relevant...


Let's see. In 2013, the engine supplier is almost irrelevant, the big differentiators being aero and tyre management (which itself depends highly on aero, but also break balance etc.). This situation may continue in 2014, but it doesn't have to - we may again see real differences in engine performance, at least at the beginning.

Switching engines again in 2015 is unfortunate timing, but probably a change for 2014 was not an option at this stage.

With an additional supplier entering the market, engine costs would have been under pressure. I wonder if this prospect led to the withdrawal of Cosworth for next year. With the number of suppliers now essentially unchanged, I would not expect any significant changes in prices.


I think Mclaren has made a tremendous decision securing Honda to be his engine partner, one reason is that Mercedes will be in F1 only if they progress and fight for world champiomships and if they don´t succeed maybe they will pull the plug at a certain point leaving Mclaren hangling. The other point is that Honda is very expert in V6 turbo engines and they will put surely many $$ in R&D due it´s road car relevance, so it seems bright, the only worry is tehy will design the 2014 car around the Mercedes engine and maybe they will have to make deep changes when the Honda is fitted for 2015, so it´s a huge challenge but if one team can revert a situation is Mclaren, they are a clever engineering company, although i am a Ferrari fan i accept Mclaren is one of the best overcoming difficulties. 20 points to them!


Not sure why everyone is excited by a Mclaren Honda partnership. McLaren already have one of the most powerful engines on the grid and still manage to go backwards. In the early days of BAR I recall Honda engines were always blowing up. McLaren/Honda partnerships in the past is no guarantee of success in the future. It would seem that Honda may have been sold another dummy.