McLaren tipped to reunite with Honda

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One of the most successful partnerships ever seen in Formula One may be recreated as the BBC claims McLaren are pursuing an engine deal with Honda.

Rumors about a potential return to F1 by Honda have grown since the new engine formula for 2014 was announced. Honda is believed to be interested in the proposals for V6 engines which make greater use of energy recovery.

Honda’s last participation in Formula One lasted from 2002 to 2008. For the last three years it ran its own team, winning the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix with Jenson Button before suffering two disastrous seasons.

McLaren previously used Honda engines between 1988 and 1992, winning four constructors’ championships and four drivers’ championships (three for Ayrton Senna, one for Alain Prost). In 80 races they scored 44 Grand Prix victories and set 53 pole positions.

The McLaren-Mercedes partnership has lasted since 1995. But having enjoyed 14 years as the sole users of their power units, Mercedes extended their supply to Force India and Brawn in 2009. The latter became the Mercedes factory team the following year.

McLaren is now a Mercedes engine customer and would undoubtedly prefer to have the kind of relationship it once enjoyed with Mercedes with a different manufacturer. Aligning with Honda, a company the team knows well, would allow it to play a greater role in developing the engine in conjunction with its chassis.

For now McLaren aren’t commenting on the rumors, but the potential return of the McLaren-Honda combination will fire the imaginations of anyone who remembers watching their devastating red and white machines in action.

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic. Follow F1 Fanatic on Twitter.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”