Between 1988 and 1992, McLaren Formula One cars powered by Honda engines were dominant on the track. In fact, during those years McLaren racked up 44 wins and eight titles thanks to the likes of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. Now, McLaren and Honda are looking to rekindle those glory days by once again partnering, with McLaren remaining as constructor and Honda as engine supplier. Their first season together will take place next year.
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McLaren first rolled out its Honda-powered racer at a special event at the Silverstone track earlier in the month, shown in the video above, and this week proper testing got underway in Abu Dhabi following the conclusion of the 2014 season, with reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
Things have got off to a bumpy start, however. Electrical issues have plagued the test car, which meant it spent most of its time in the garage. But it’s still early days, as these initial tests are mainly for system checks. McLaren only commences full engine testing in February.
"Running a modern Formula 1 car is a very complicated procedure–and this week's test is all about how the departments at Sakura, Milton Keynes and Woking learn to integrate with the operational hub at the circuit," McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said in Abu Dhabi. "We encountered a number of issues, including a lengthy check of electrical installations this morning, but it's satisfying to see that we got the engine fired up, the car out of the garage, and some laps on the board."
Honda first confirmed its intention to return to F1 as an engine supplier back in 2013. The Japanese automaker’s new power unit, which was revealed for the first time last month, will be used exclusively by McLaren in the 2015 season.
The power unit consists of a turbocharged 1.6-liter V-6 engine paired with two electric motor-generators, one providing a boost of power to the wheels and the other helping spool up the turbo. Under current regs, combined system output is around 750 horsepower.