Honda in Formula 1: Now that the Japanese are the ‘official culprits’ of McLaren’s poor results, we have reviewed the 10 moments of love-hate with Honda in Formula 1 throughout its almost 50 years in the history of this competition.
“It’s Honda’s fault.” And, whether this is a mathematic expression or not, it seems that more and more voices coincide in blaming the Japanese driver for the poor results that McLaren has had since both legendary names rejoined forces since 2015. However, is this the worst Era of the Japanese in the motorsport queen category? We review the 10 moments of love-hate relationship with Honda in Formula 1 .
1.- Honda enters F1
About half a century ago, Honda in Formula 1 broke into F1, a competition far removed from the ‘country of the rising sun’, both by tradition and by builders and drivers. While historians had painted their racing cars according to their origin (Italian, red, French, blue, British, green, German, silver), the new Honda in Formula 1 appeared in white with the red circle Of the national flag well highlighted and everything was Japanese in the equipment, except the pilots, Richie Ginther and Ronnie Bucknum (of the USA).
And if someone did not believe in 1963 that the hache had come to Formula 1 to stay, in 1965 the world saw how they got their first victory at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix (Ginther) and the second (John Surtees ), At the Italian Grand Prix of 1967. However, the disappointment came after the withdrawal as a team, seemingly precocious, if we consider these brilliant and promising beginnings.
2.- The return: Williams, Tyrrel and Lotus
Honda in Formula 1 will not return with Force to the premier class until the 80’s, in the turbo era and, officially, only as a driver, with a block of 1,500 cc. The Williams-Honda in Formula 1 tandem debuts in 1983 and triumphs begin to arrive in the US, Europe, South Africa and Australia. And little by little, many riders will begin to make a name in the competition of the hand of Honda in Formula 1, although it is not until 1986 and 1987 when they arrive to arrive the world-wide titles of Constructors and Pilots for Honda in Formula 1 …
3.- Senna begins to dawn
The very Ayrton Senna caught the attention of everyone from his F1 debut with Toleman (1984), although, just before making the jump to McLaren-Honda in Formula 1 led that Lotus-Honda in Formula 1 yellow ‘Camel’ with which not only astonished the world Of the races, but it divided an entire country of motor fans like Brazil, in which everybody was overturned with the hitherto local hero: nothing more and nothing less than Nelson Piquet. In addition to Lotus, Honda motorized at this time, too, to Tyrrel and Williams.
4.- First marriage with McLaren: the golden age
But the leading role for Honda would really come in the late 1980s, with the McLaren team and the red-and-white decoration of the cigarette packs. The 1988 season was Honda in Formula 1’s most successful, with 15 wins in 16 Grand Prix races. However, in the 80s and up to 1991, with the four teams mentioned, Honda in Formula 1 achieved six constructors’ championships and five riders.
5.- Honda retires again
In 1992, the McLaren-Honda in Formula 1 ceases to be the car to beat and a meritorious Senna face plant as it can in some Grands Prix to the Williams Williams of Mansell – that would take the championship that year – and Patrese. Renault has already taken over Honda as the most appreciated driver in F1, and proof of this will be the titles of Drivers and Builders who will reap the Williams and Benetton endowed with the diamond in the following years … until the arrival of Mercedes ( At the end of the decade) and Ferrari (early 2000s).
In 1993, the McLaren Ford was equal or less competitive in front of Williams Renault than with Honda in Formula 1 engine. Although, the tandem gave for podiums and victories, especially, in the hands of Senna.
6.- Return to half-gas
Until his return as official equipment, Honda would be present in F1 in the XXI century, with Jordan, Ligier, Prost and British American Racing (BAR), although, did not reap the expected results.
7.- Honda’s return as a team: I want and I can not
After gaining 45% of the BAR team in 2004 and the remaining 55% in 2005, the goal was clear: to win the World Cup as Honda Racing F1 Team , but good results not finished curdle in 2006. The year 2007 was still Worse, in spite of the resources invested and to be one of the bigger budgets of the grill. And in 2008, when all economic sectors took a step back from the onset of the crisis, Honda decided to retire from F1 … again.
8.-Brawn GP: the spirit of success
Against all odds, 2009 was the brightest moment of Honda? or rather, what was left of it in this review of the 10 moments of love-hate relationship with Honda in Formula 1 . And it is that Ross Brawn bought the team and, after finding the magic key in the regulations, against all odds dominated the Drivers ‘ and Constructors from start to finish: under the name Brawn GP , the team won both titles and Jenson Button is Imposed his teammate, Rubens Barrichello, in the final standings.
9.- The nth return: the great disappointment of Alonso
In 2014, after failing to achieve his long-awaited third Drivers title at McLaren (2007) or at Ferrari (2010-2014), Fernando Alonso signed a dream comeback to the Woking team to sponsor the resurgence of gray cars – The technical development since 2012 – by the hand of Honda. However, although it was known that the challenge was going to be very difficult and that the results would be slow to arrive, neither Alonso nor Button imagined that they would start so late in the hybrids era. The overwhelming dominance of Mercedes in 2015 was one thing, but reliability was so poor that the number one goal to become finish races instead of fighting for the last … was most disheartening.
10.- The last chance?
In 2017, before the big amendments to the regulations that are to come, could be the last chance for Honda to propel McLaren to the top of the grid, something that does not seem a utopia in view of the great evolution carried out by the Japanese in 2016. However, for Jenson Button it will be late (this is his last season in the team) and who knows if Fernando Alonso will be in time to see the fruits of so much work before retiring from Formula 1
Alonso has progressed a lot with his McLaren Honda in 2016, although he is still far from the podium.