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.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

Follow @JerryBonkowski