Japanese automaker Honda has reported that it is making steady progress towards its return to Formula 1 in 2015 with McLaren.
Honda announcerd last year that it would rejoin the European-dominated sport as an engine supplier to British team McLaren in a bid to revive their Championship winning partnership.
“The company is making steady progress in developing the Power Unit,” Honda said in a statement outlining its motorsport strategy for 2014.
The company is establishing its European base for F1 activity in Milton Keynes, 80 kilometres northwest of London, to rebuild and maintain Power Units developed at its research and development centre in Japan.
The company said it also set up a new centre at home in January for development of F1 and other motorsports.
The statement added: “In January 2014 Honda moved its motor sports development base from the Automobile R&D Center of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. (at Haga-machi, Haga-gun in Tochigi Prefecture) to a newly situated area in its facility in Sakura City (also in Tochigi), in a move to further strengthen its development organization for F1 and other races.”
“At Honda’s European base for F1 activity in Milton Keynes, U.K., installation of the dynamo and assembly facilities will be completed in June 2014 to further reinforce the already solid setup, in preparation for racing.”
Honda pulled out of F1 after the 2008 season, ending an involvement that began in the 1960s, to cut costs during the economic downturn that ravaged Japanese exports to the United States and Europe. It sold its team to former Principal Ross Brawn the following year.
A recent change in F1 rules, promoting the use of environmentally friendlier turbo engines, made the comeback decision easier because Honda can more readily transfer the technology to its road vehicles.
The McLaren-Honda alliance conquered F1 from 1988 to 1991 with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at the wheel. Honda started racing in F1 as a full-fledged team in 1964, and stayed until 1968.
During that time, it won two races. Then, as a supplier of engines to other teams including McLaren, Williams and Lotus, it raced from 1983 to 1992 and won 69 races.
After an eight-year hiatus, Honda returned as an engine provider and then part-owner of the BAR team from 2000 to 2005. In 2006 it took full control and renamed it Honda. (AFP)
Subbed by AJN.