After confirming this week that its Formula One base will be located in Milton Keynes, Honda has now revealed to Autosport that it will fire up an engine for the first time this fall.
Honda last raced in Formula One in 2008 before withdrawing at the end of that season. Five years later though, the Japanese manufacturer has confirmed that it will return to the sport supplying power units to McLaren from 2015 onwards.
Honda’s motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai told Autosport: “We are scheduled to have a fire-up around autumn.
“Of course, in addition to the engine unit, we are going to have components like the ERS and the battery, so in order for us to test it as a system it is probably going to take another year or so.”
Arai explained how it would take time to perfect the new specification engine for 2015, with the regulations debuting next season as turbocharged V6 engines replace V8s.
“We made the announcement in the middle of May that Honda has decided to come back to F1 and we have just started the design work. We are now making the decisions for some of the details, so we have just started to embark on this.
“It is going to involve lots of technical elements, so it’s not just talking about the engine. We have to make sure that the engine works with the engine management. To be a good power unit, we have to make sure that all parts work together.”
Honda’s comeback is hotly anticipated and McLaren will be hoping to return to the glory days of their partnership in the late 1980s as Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna dominated the F1 world. However, by delaying entry until 2015, the deal does leave McLaren in a tight position with Mercedes until their current agreement expires at the end of next season.
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.