No, what you’re hearing is not the latest from the works of Dyson, but rather the sound of Honda’s new Formula One engine. The Japanese maker is returning to F1 in 2015 when it will supply the engines to McLaren. The new engine rules – which come into effect next year – mandate 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injection V6 units in place of the current naturally aspirated 2.4-litre V8s.
The changes also bring a 15,000rpm limit – 3000rpm less than the current limit ¬– with a single exhaust outlet to replace the current twin set-up. While it may have lost two cylinders and eight-valves, the V6 will be teamed with a more potent energy recovery system that will add 160bhp for an estimated 760bhp in total.
Why is Honda’s F1 return significant?
The McLaren Honda collaboration is one of the most successful partnerships ever in F1. Honda engineered an unmatched turbo-engine that saw McLaren win eight world titles between 1988 and 1992. The legendary Ayrton Senna won three of those, with his rival-and-teammate Alain Prost claiming one of his four world titles in a McLaren Honda.
Honda’s last F1 stint was not so successful, with participation first as an engine supplier between 2000-2005, and then as a manufacturer between 2006-2008.
While Jenson Button’s first F1 race win came at the wheel of the Honda RA106 at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, it was a rare bright spot in an otherwise uncompetitive performance which led to the team being sold to Ross Brawn who, in a blow to Honda’s fortunes, used the remnants to win the 2009 championship with Mercedes engines.
Will Honda have anything to do with McLaren road cars?
McLaren’s road car business could also benefit from the partnership, although there’s no official confirmation that Honda will be involved. However, with the P1 and forthcoming P13’s strong technical and marketing links to McLaren’s F1 activities, it would make perfect sense for the road cars to be Honda-powered, even with the Honda NSX supercar arriving in 2015.
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