Honda F1 team on horizon

Author

admin

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Car giant promises increase in F1 profile

Honda looks set to run its own team in Formula One for the first time since 1968 following an announcement that it intends to buy a 45 per cent stake in BAR.

The Japanese giant, which has supplied engines to BAR since 2000, is widely tipped to complete a total buy-out and rebranding of the team within the next two years. It has already drawn up plans for a new $50m wind tunnel and has pledged an increased investment of $100m a year on top of the similar amount it already spends on development.

The team’s main shareholder and primary sponsor British American Tobacco is apparently keen to sell its existing stake in light of stringent anti-tobacco laws to be introduced across Europe in 2005. There is a fly in the ointment, however: former team principal Craig Pollock, who still owns BAR shares, is taking legal action to stop Honda’s buy-in. The move could embarrass BAT, but is unlikely to thwart Honda’s long-term ambitions.

The manufacturer has enjoyed huge success in F1, but only as an engine supplier to Williams, Lotus and McLaren during the late 1980s and early ’90s. It came close to a full-blown return in 2000, with Jos Verstappen testing a Dallara-built Harvey Postlethwaite-designed test mule in ’99, but Honda’s board refused to sign off an annual budget of £125m and the plan was shelved. It appears that opinions have changed.

Former world champion John Surtees, who transformed Honda’s GP fortunes during the ’60s, is sure that the new-look team will prevail: “I think what it is often overlooked here in Europe is that Honda is in motorsport to develop people; the publicity aspect is secondary. It has a proper management structure and what people learn in racing is carried through into the production of road cars. There is a real legacy of engineering at Honda. When it pulled out of F1 at the end of 1968 the Civic was unveiled not long after and suddenly Honda was seen as a serious manufacturer. Its take-on-the-world attitude stemmed directly from motor racing. A lot of people I knew on the F1 team went on to run the company.

“I can see no reason why Honda won’t be successful again in F1.”

BAR finished second in the 2004 constructors’ standings on the back of Jenson Button’s 11 podiums. Otmar Szafnauer, vice-president of Honda Racing Development, said Button is key to the team’s future: “We have specifically targeted 2006 as the year in which we want to win the title. We fully intend to win a number of races next season. The increased investment, together with closer technical collaboration, is a reflection of that… We need a driver ofJenson’s quality to do that.”

But David Richards, the architect of BAR’s run of results in 2004, will not be on board to steer the revised team. With his contract up for renewal, he has already left.

***

Fact File — Honda in Formula One

1964: After testing a Cooper chassis, Honda builds RA271. Unknown Ronnie Bucknum drives it in three GP’s

1965: Richie Ginther wins Mexican GP in RA272

1967: John Surtees wins Italian GP in Lola Indycar-derived RA300

1968: Honda withdraws from F1

1983: Honda re-enters F1 with Spirit 201

1984-87: 23 GP wins and two world titles with Williams; two GP wins with Lotus

1988-92: 44 GP wins and four world titles with McLaren

You may also like

Related products