Honda not planning to buy into McLaren

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McLaren has publicly denied rumors suggesting that Honda could be set to buy a part of the team in the near future.

Honda is set to return to Formula 1 in 2015 after seven years away as a power unit supplier. For the first year, it will exclusively power McLaren, rekindling their partnership from the late 1980s when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost dominated the sport.

However, speculation over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend suggested that the Japanese marque could go one step further and buy a part of the team. In order to put an end to this paddock chatter, McLaren released a statement earlier this week:

“Contrary to recent media reports, Honda has informed us it has no intention to buy into McLaren. All of Honda’s focus is on the development of its new Formula 1 power unit.”

Quite clearly, there is little desire from Honda to be anything more than a power unit supplier at McLaren, but speculation concerning new backers at the British team will continue to circulate, given that it is running in 2014 without a title sponsor.

Honda is expected to extend its power unit supply for its second year (2016), and is also rumored to be interested in buying a team further down the grid to support McLaren, much like Toro Rosso does for Red Bull.

Whatever the nature of the relationship, it will bring back some fond memories of Senna and Prost going wheel-to-wheel in the red and white McLarens when Honda returns next year.

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.”