Honda quits F1 for 2009 Season

6 12 2008

Today, citing economic woes brought on by the current financial crisis Honda announced today that it will not participate in the 2009 Formula 1 season. The company further clarifies that it will also stop being an engine supplier for the sport, something it has done successfully in the mid 80’s and 90’s. Honda started with Formula 1 in 1964 but pulled out a few years later after a fatal crash involving one of it’s driver. It then rejoined the sport as engine suppliers to the Williams Team and later the McLaren Team. In 1987, the Honda  Ra166E turbocharged engine that was used in the William-Honda FW11 was already producing in excess of 1000 bhp. All from a 1.5 litre engine! Since then, rules and regulations were put in by organizers to limit the perfomance of these engines and chassis. But even nowadays, the Honda  RA807E V8 normally aspirated engines produce some 700 bhp from a displacement of 2.4 litres. That’s close to 200 bhp per litre!

alainprost_mclaren-honda_1988_1024

But I remember the Mclaren Honda (pictured above) best because they were successfully driven to many victories by my favourite F1 driver of all time, the late Ayrton Senna, and his team mate Alain Prost. Notice that back then slick tyres were really slick. No threads whatsoever! Senna had actually once driven in the wet on these tyres to win the race! Here is Senna in the Mclaren Honda MP4/4 in Monaco.

In 1988, the the Mclaren-Honda driven by these two superb drivers won 15  out of a total of 16 races from 15 pole positions. To date this is the most dominant car in any Formula 1 season. Honda left Formula 1 altogether in 1992 but returned again in the year 2000 as engine suppliers for the British American Racing Team (BAR) which they finally bought over in 2005 to become a Factory Team. And today after 3 full seasons Honda has called it quits. I have read somewhere that Honda spends ₤200 million a year putting these cars on the grid. The pullout by Honda will remove 4 cars from the starting grid next year. The 2 cars fromthe factory team and the 2 I hope the hard times will not affect any other teams and that Honda will eventually return to the sport.

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