Reports: Honda heading back to F1 with McLaren

McLaren continues to deny it, but the word — including in this piece by the BBC — is that Honda will return to Formula 1 as an engine manufacturer for the Woking-based team in 2015.

Here’s the key rumor-passing-along from the BBC:

A McLaren spokesman said: “We never discuss media rumours about potential partners.”

Mercedes, which currently supplies McLaren’s engines, said it could not comment on its partner’s plans, but its F1 executive director Toto Wolff said: “We are looking for a long-term engine supplier relationship with McLaren-Mercedes.”

McLaren has a contract with Mercedes with options for the team to renew for 2014 and 2015. McLaren are expected to take up only the first of those options.

Honda president Takanobu Ito on 8 February admitted that the company was “studying” the idea of an F1 return.

Now who wouldn’t be existed by this? Sure, McLaren-Mercedes has had its great moments, topped certainly by Lewis Hamilton’s drivers’ title in 2008. But… McLaren-Honda?

Senna? Prost? 1988, when those two drivers won 15 of 16 races? Yes, yes and yes.

Honda’s interest, of course, is sparked by the sport’s engine changes, going from the current V-8s to smaller, 6-cylinder turbo-charged engines. It’s an often-maligned change, one that Bernie Ecclestone has been not at all quiet in blasting. (Fun little side quiz: What was the last thing that Bernie was quiet about?)

If the change brings more manufacturers to the sport, does that help ease any pain?

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