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.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.