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.