Honda is returning to the Formula One racing scene in 2015, replacing Mercedes-Benz as the engine supplier for McLaren, sources privy to the Japanese carmaker told Reuters. One of the sources said Honda chief executive Takanobu Ito will make an official announcement as early as May 16, 2013. Honda quit Formula One at the end of 2008, handing over its team to then-principal Ross Brawn who went on to capture both crowns in 2009 with Mercedes-powered Brawn GP.
According to one of the sources, Honda hoped Formula One's new engine regulations for 2014 would help develop technology for its mass volume road cars, adding that the sport’s “incubator aspect” makes the carmaker’s participation worthwhile. In 2014, Formula One will introduce a new 1.6 liter V6 engine boosted by high-power turbo technology with energy recovery systems. Japanese media including public broadcaster NHK and Asahi newspaper first broke news on Honda’s comeback to Formula One.
Although McLaren is committed to using engines built by Mercedes in 2014, it has yet to disclose plans for beyond that date. McLaren is considered as the second most successful team in Formula One in terms of race wins and drivers' titles. A 2015 tandem between Honda and Mclaren would revive what is regarded as one of the greatest Formula One partnerships.
Although Honda logged little success with its own team, it was able to power McLaren to multiple championships. Among the partnership’s Formula One champions include Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna and French four times champion Alain Prost, between 1988 and 1992. The partnership between Honda and McLaren in 1988 was the most domineering in Formula One history, with Senna and Prost grabbing 15 of the 16 races.