It seems that Honda are indeed keen to return to F1, with the change in engine rules their best chance to come back as an engine manufacturer. It has been agreed that F1 teams will need to change from 2.4-litre V8 engines to 1.6-litre turbos in an effort to reduce costs and also make F1 technology more relevant to road vehicles. This switch will happen in 2014.
This is therefore Honda’s opportunity to maintain its strong engineering reputation and team up with McLaren once again. McLaren Honda won four F1 championships back-to-back between 1988 and 1991 with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna as drivers. In 1988 McLaren Honda won 15 out of 16 races! Both companies will be keen to rekindle this dominant partnership.
It makes perfect sense that McLaren would like to be less reliant on Mercedes who are now focussed on their own F1 team, which looks to be in good shape for the 2013 season.
McLaren’s current deal with Mercedes comes to an end once the 2013 F1 season finishes, however it is believed that McLaren have the option to extend this one or two years further … giving them time to make the transition to Honda (and probably make comparisons vs the 2014 Mercedes power unit to be sure!).
Honda will join three other car manufacturers are engine suppliers in F1, alongside Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault. There have been rumours that Cosworth may also attempt to come back.
More competition can only be good for F1!