• Japanese giant to re-form grand prix partnership for 2015
• Alliance recalls great days of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost
Honda is to return to Formula One in 2015 after confirming on Thursday a partnership with McLaren as engine supplier.
Honda chief executive Takanobu Ito and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh made the announcement in Tokyo.
The Japanese manufacturing giant quit the sport at the end of 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis.
But with F1 due for a major engine overhaul from next season when turbo-charged 1.6 litre V8 powerplants replace the current 2.4 litre V12 units, Honda has decided the time is right to make a comeback.
McLaren and Honda formed one of the most successful partnerships in F1 history from 1988 to 1992, winning 44 grands prix and eight world titles.
It will bring to end McLaren’s long-running engine deal with Mercedes that began in 1995, so far yielding 78 victories, one constructors’ and three drivers’ championships.
Although Honda had little success with their own team for three years after branching out from 2006-08, their return is seen as something of a coup for McLaren.
Whitmarsh said: “I am delighted to announce Honda and McLaren will soon begin a new chapter of our legendary Formula One partnership.
“It is a partnership synonymous with success. Together, in 1988, we created the most successful Formula One car of all time, which was driven to victory 15 times out of 16 [grands prix] by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
“McLaren and Honda are about to embark on a new and extremely exciting adventure together.
“For everyone who works for both companies, the weight of our past achievements lies heavily on our shoulders.
“But like McLaren, Honda is a company with motor racing in its blood and it’s the mark of ambition we both share that we want to re-create past glories and take McLaren-Honda back to the top.
“Together we’ll form a lasting partnership to deliver success on the track, backed up by world-leading R&D and engineering intelligence.”