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Honda tipped for F1 return with McLaren

india Updated: Nov 27, 2011 00:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Honda

Lewis Hamilton may yet get to fulfill his wish to emulate his hero, the late great Ayrton Senna of Brazil who won three F1 titles with McLaren in 1988, 1990 and 1991. On all three occasions, Senna's McLaren was powered by a Honda engine. Most famously by a 1.5 litre, turbocharged V-6 engine in 1988 when the Japanese automotive giant first partnered with McLaren.

With F1 all set to adopt a 1.6 litre, turbocharged V-6 engine formula in 2014, Germany's reputed automotive magazine Auto Motor und Sport is reporting that McLaren is to end its partnership with Mercedes-Benz, who has supplied the F1 team that Hamilton currently drives for with engines since the 1995 season.

With Mercedes-Benz's return to F1 as a constructor in 2010 - ironically after taking over the Brawn GP team that was the factory Honda team that quit F1 at the end of the 2008 season - McLaren has been using engines from the German car maker reportedly free of charge. That deal, however, runs only until the end of the 2012 season, after which McLaren would have to start paying for the use of the engines.

The tenure of the deal was confirmed when HT contacted the motorsports communications director of Mercedes-Benz who, however, did not comment on the story linking McLaren to Honda.

The new engine regulations that were ratified by the International Automobile Federation's (FIA) World Moto Sport Council this June were designed with the intention of improving fuel efficiency (while staying at current levels of power) of F1 and engines and increase the championship's relevance to automobile manufacturers such as Honda and Volkswagen. While Honda is reportedly ready to enter F1 as an engine supplier when the new regulations come into effect, the head of Volkswagen Motorsport, Kris Nissen, has repeatedly downplayed the possibility of the German car company to throw its hat into the F1 ring, choosing to enter the World Rally Championship instead in 2013.

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