Honda is returning to Formula One racing as an engine supplier, beginning in 2015.
The Japanese automaker will be rejoining forces with McLaren, the F1 constructor with which it has achieved its greatest successes in the past. The Honda McLaren combination claimed four successive constructor's championships in the period1988-91.
In their new endeavour, Honda will be in charge of the development, manufacture and supply of the power unit, including the engine and hybrid energy recovery system (KERS), while McLaren will be in charge of the development and manufacture of the chassis, as well as management of the new team, which will be known as McLaren Honda.
New F1 engine regulations take effect in 2014, replacing the current 2.4-litre V-8 powerplants with turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-litre six-cylinder engines and energy recovery systems.
Honda won't be ready for 2014 so McLaren will continue to race with Mercedes-Benz customer engines for one season.
The opportunity to further develop these new powertrain technologies through the challenge of racing is central to Honda’s decision to participate in F1, the company said.
Honda has been a pioneer in technologies such as hybrid systems and participation in Formula 1 under these new regulations is expected to spur further technological progress in this area.
It will also provide a new generation of Honda engineers to learn from the challenges of operating at the pinnacle of motorsport.
"Ever since its establishment, Honda has been a company which grows by taking on challenges in racing," said Takanobu Ito, president and CEO of Honda Motor Co.
"Honda has a long history of advancing our technologies and nurturing our people by participating in the world’s most prestigious automobile racing series. The new F1 regulations with their significant environmental focus will inspire even greater development of our own advanced technologies and this is central to our participation in F1."
Honda built and raced a car of its own in Formula One from 1964 to 1968. Then it returned as an engine supplier from 1988 through 1991 and again from 1983 to 1992 and from 2000 to 2005.
During that latter period, the company also became involved in chassis development with the BAR team, to which it supplied engines. In 2006, Honda took over that team, renaming it Honda Racing, an continued as such through 2008 when it withdrew from the sport.