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.