Honda returns to Formula One racing with focus on high-tech engine technology to improve road cars

Honda Formula One RacingAfter nearly a seven year hiatus, Honda is roaring back into Formula One racing in 2015 as McLaren’s engine partner.

However, the automaker appears to be focused on much more than reclaiming its record with McLaren’s as one of the most successful teams in the sport, second only to Ferrari.  

Honda, which pulled out of Formula One in 2008 due to financial troubles, is looking to leverage new engine regulations in the sport to improve its everyday consumer vehicles, according to Reuters.

“As the direction of Formula One’s new technologies and the direction that Honda aims at for development matches, the young engineers who will be responsible for Honda in the future started to voice their desire to take part in the challenge,” Honda Motor Co. Chief Executive Takanobu said in a news conference.

“More so than in the past, we can expect feedback from the race cars to common road cars and vice versa.”

Under new regulations, Formula One is introducing a new V6 1.6-litre engine aided by high-power turbo technology with energy recovery systems from next season.

Honda cites two examples of technologies that could be applied from race cars to road cars – including regenerative energy from the turbo, which changes the turbo’s rotational energy to electricity, and downsizing the turbo.

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s Chief Executive, said crossover technologies would help the team, according to Reuters.

“I think Formula One has been absolutely slow to adapt and to change to the new challenges which are relevant to the needs of society…Downsizing turbo charging, heavier hybrid content, these are areas (in which) I know Honda will excel,” he said.