Honda: F1 engine won’t run on-track until 2015

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Honda have confirmed they will not track-test their F1 engine for the 2015 season until after the end of next year.

The Japanese manufacturer is returning to Formula One with McLaren and building a 1.6-litre V6 engine for the new power train regulations.

As Honda is not involved in F1 at present it is not bound by the ban on testing, leading to speculation Honda could use that to accelerate its development program.

But Honda motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai told Autosport that will not happen:

“In terms of the timing of when you will be able to see the engine running in the actual vehicle, maybe it will be around [January/February 2015]. We are hoping we will get to show our engine at that time.”

However Arai indicated that testing the engine out of the car would be better in some ways: “I think it is going to be more efficient to use the dyno. Maybe that is going to give us more benefits.”

In 2014 McLaren will use Mercedes engine for the final season in a partnership which will have lasted 20 years. The team previously used Honda power from 1988 to 1992, during which time V6 turbo, V10 and V12 power plants were all used.

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.