Honda has confirmed it will return to Formula One, announcing it will rekindle its partnership with McLaren from 2015.
The Japanese brand had been strongly rumoured to return to motorsport’s premier racing category after leaving at the end of the 2008 season.
Honda has cited Formula One’s shift to new technical regulations from 2014, which will see a move from V8 engines to turbocharged 1.6-litre V6s complemented by energy recovery systems, as a key motivating factor behind the move.
“Ever since its establishment, Honda has been a company which grows by taking on challenges in racing,” said Honda president and CEO Takanobu Ito.
“Honda has a long history of advancing our technologies and nurturing our people by participating in the world’s most prestigious automobile racing series. 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.”
The new tie-up will see an end to the McLaren-Mercedes partnership that started way back in 1995.
Honda operated its own factory team before selling it to Ross Brawn, whose eponymous team Brawn GP went on to win the 2009 title with British driver Jenson Button.
McLaren and Honda shared one of the most dominant periods in F1 in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which included the 1988 season when drivers Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won 15 of the 16 races when powered by the Japanese marque’s engines.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said the announcement was “fantastic news for everyone who loves Formula 1 to be able to welcome Honda back to Formula 1”.
“Together, we’re about to embark on a new and extremely exciting chapter in McLaren’s history.”