May 16, 2013
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The return of Honda as an engine supplier to Formula 1 is very welcome news. Even better is the expectation that more suppliers will follow, and cause a greater variety of engine combinations on the grid.
In recent years, we have seen the number of companies supplying power units drop all the way down to 4 – Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari and Cosworth. The latter of these is reducing its involvement with the sport, with Caterham and Williams having switched to Renault power in the last few seasons. Now only supplying Marussia, it is very clear that they will most likely not survive the switch to the V6 engines next year. To have only 3 different types of engine on the grid for too long would be a disaster for the sport.
However, this Honda deal has revitalised the engine market. With Renault upping the prices for their turbocharged units next year, teams like Lotus, Williams and Caterham might be encouraged to switch to the Japanese company from 2015 onwards.
Other manufacturers such as Audi and Volkswagen have previously expressed interest in returning to F1, and it’s always possible that we’ll see more suppliers arrive in the next few years. All of these signs clearly indicate that the FIA’s new engine formula is already proving to be successful.
The FIA’s aim was to encourage large manufacturing corporations back into the world of F1, while also presenting a new technical challenge that keeps the teams on their toes. While it remains to be seen how the on-track racing is affected by these new changes, I believe that the new engine suppliers will provide a huge boost to Formula 1’s credibility and excitement in the coming years.
May 16, 2013
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Honda is to make its return into Formula 1 after a 5-year absence, supplying engines to the McLaren team from 2015 onwards.
They last partnered McLaren from 1983 to 1992, resulting in several utterly dominant years with clearly superior turbocharged engines. The 2014 V6 formula has clearly piqued Honda’s interest, with president and CEO Takanobu Ito stating:
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.
Honda dropped out of F1 after 2008, after a second dreadful season in a row. Their last engine supplier deal was to Jordan and BAR in 2002, but it seems that the McLaren-Honda releationship is a match made in heaven.