Honda have announced they will return to Formula One with McLaren in the 2015 F1 season.
This will be Honda’s fourth entry into Formula One. Here are pictures of their previous F1 racers from the sixties up to their last F1 campaign in 2008.
1965-1968: First Honda F1 team
Honda’s first foray into Formula One in the sixties came as the sport’s short-lived 1.5-litre engine formula was coming to an end. Honda scored its first victory at the last race run to those rules, Richie Ginther triumphing in the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
They returned with a 3-litre engine the following year and John Surtees gave them another victory in a thrilling race at Monza in 1967, crossing the line side–by-side with Jack Brabham.
But the team pushed too far with its 1968 car which Surtees refused to drive, believing it was too dangerous. His fears were realised when Jo Schlesser took over the car for the French Grand Prix, crashed and died in a terrible fire. Honda pulled out of F1 at the end of the year.
1983-1992: Honda engines in F1
Honda were attracted back to Formula One as the sport embraced turbocharging in the early eighties. Having dipped a toe in the water with the tiny Spirit team, Honda allied first to Williams and later Lotus and McLaren as its superb engines dominated the sport.
This was never more so than in 1988, when McLaren-Hondas won all bar one of the 16 races, and typically qualified whole seconds faster than their rivals.
Even after F1’s enforced switch back to normally aspirated engines in 1989 Honda stayed ahead of the competition. By the end of 1991 Honda-powered teams had won six consecutive constructors’ championships and its drivers had won five titles in a row.
With little left to prove, Honda left F1 at the end of 1992. But it retained a link with the sport via tuning company Mugen, who scored wins with Jordan in the late nineties.
2002-2005: V10 engines
By the start of the new millennium F1 was a V10 engine formula and Honda joined forces with BAR, enjoying a successful though winless 2004 season.
Much was expected of their 2005 campaign but they were thrown out of the San Marino Grand Prix and disqualified from the next two races after they were found to have been running underweight.
2006-2008: Second Honda F1 team
In 2006 Honda turned BAR into its factory team and Jenson Button scored a long-awaited first win for them at the Hungaroring.
But their 2007 and 2008 campaigns were disastrous. Ross Brawn arrived at the team and ploughed its resources into preparing a car for the new 2009 regulations. But as the financial crisis worsened Honda abruptly canned its F1 project.
The 2009 cars were badged as Brawns and powered by Mercedes engines. They dominated the first half of the new season and claimed the constructors’ crown, with Button taking the drivers’ title.
He then left the team for McLaren, but is set to be reunited with Honda when they return to the sport in 2015.
More pictures of Honda in F1:
- Pictures: 2024 F1 pre-season testing day three: Bahrain
- Pictures: 2024 F1 pre-season testing day two: Bahrain
- Pictures: Ferrari’s new SF-24 uncovered as testing begins
- Pictures: Red Bull’s slim sidepod inlets and novel air ducts revealed at test
- Pictures: New views of Mercedes W15 running in Bahrain test
Images © Honda, Williams/LAT