Next year Honda will return to Formula One after a seven-year absence, bringing the first Japanese automaker to compete in the top-tier racing series back into the fold. But though it started in 1964 much as it ended in 2008, running its own team (much like Ferrari and Mercedes do today), its new F1 program will see it revert to engine-supplier status (like Renault did when it sold its team to Lotus).

The arrangement will be exclusive to McLaren for the 2015 Formula One World Championship. But what fans and insiders alike have been wondering is how it might expand after that. Well, now we have at least part of the answer.

According to the F1 business insiders at Pitpass, Honda motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai told a group of journalists at this past weekend's race in Shanghai that the deal with McLaren will be exclusive not only in 2015, but also in 2016. In other words, it won't be until 2017 at the earliest before Honda might begin supplying engines to any other teams, if at all.

The last time McLaren and Honda collaborated, they proved an unassailable combination - one of the most successful partnerships in the history of motorsport. With Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost (subsequently replaced by Gerhard Berger) behind the wheel, McLaren-Honda won both the drivers' and constructors' titles four years running from 1988 through 1991, proving as winning a combination as Red Bull and Renault.

McLaren placed second under Honda power the following season in 1992, then meandered under Ford and Peugeot power before embarking on its long partnership with Mercedes that's still in effect this season. Meanwhile Honda left the series after 1992, only to return in 2000 with BAR, the team that it subsequently bought, then sold in 2009 to Ross Brawn who won the championship and ended up selling to Mercedes. That team is now leading the championship standings with nearly three times as many points as its closest challengers.


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  • 18 Comments
      RocketRed
      • 8 Months Ago
      I hear Honda has had to put some serious money in McLaren's tin cup for this year as they have no title sponsor now and none is expected imminently. McLaren are obviously not doing great now, even with the best PU on the grid and a WDC in one car. I hope Honda is not making a mistake here gonig with McLaren, as much as it pains a fan to say, and risking ending up like they did the last time they had to creep away from F1. At least, they can learn from that expeience and tell Dennis, forget about 2014, let's start over again for this formula from scratch.
        carguy1701
        • 8 Months Ago
        @RocketRed
        They lost Vodafone?
        Racerman967
        • 8 Months Ago
        @RocketRed
        Ron refused to lower the price for title sponsorship and with Honda coming on board companies didn't want to be in a "lame duck" situation. Especially with potential livery changes etc. There was some talk that SONY was coming on board next year but no confiramation.
        petrol42
        • 8 Months Ago
        @RocketRed
        I wish we never had this stupid ban on Tobacco advertising. The F1 fans have suffered the most because without Tobacco companies throwing money at the F1 teams, the teams have had to actively search for sponsors which we have seen are often unsuccessful and the effect is that F1 has had to go into cost cutting mode so the field of cars doesn't dwindle down even further from the eleven teams currently in F1. At least back in the day of Tobacco advertising, we would see a team like Jordan reach the podium multiple times and a team like Arrows with a great driver like Damon Hill almost winning a race. These teams were small but they had Tobacco money to spend on R&D. Now we have teams like Marussia and Caterham which suck harder than Minardi ever did.
      Carlos Soto
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why Mclaren choose Honda over Kia is one of the all time mistery in autosports.
      Shahul X
      • 8 Months Ago
      Good idea... get rid of the best engine on the grid right now for the Honda... on the flip side it is cool to see more engine constructors and BMW may follow suite
        snap_understeer_ftw
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Shahul X
        hindsight is always 20/20...... people gave Hamilton **** for leaving Mclaren when he did but Mercedes has been a great move. Pretty much no one is saying that was a bad move
      holysmoke.s
      • 8 Months Ago
      Looking forward to the road car they are working on together.
        PatrickH
        • 8 Months Ago
        @holysmoke.s
        McLaren and Honda are co-developing a car? That's the first time I've heard of such a thing. Link, for more details!?
        carguy1701
        • 8 Months Ago
        @holysmoke.s
        Why would McLaren work with Honda on a road car? McLaren already has a better engine, better suspension tech, and better chassis construction methods than Honda. Only thing Honda has that McLaren might want is hybrid tech, but its not like there's a shortage of that in the industry today.
          Bernard
          • 8 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          Who would want Honda's hybrid tech?
          carguy1701
          • 8 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          Eh, the powertrain from the new Accord Hybrid seems pretty good (even if it was done before in concept by Fisker). Either way, I don't put stock in that rumor.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @holysmoke.s
        [blocked]
          • 8 Months Ago
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