Honda Boss Yamamoto Blames ‘Mutual Respect’ for McLaren F1 Rift

Published 12/27/2021, 4:18 AM EST


Japanese engine manufacturer Honda had an incredibly successful stint in F1 during the late 1980s with Williams and Mclaren. However, the Japanese asset price bubble forced them out of the sport in 1992. They returned to F1 with minimal success between 2006-08 and they had to exit the sport again due to the global financial crisis.

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Honda teamed up with F1 giant Mclaren on multiple occasions. Stalwarts like Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won championships in Mclaren cars powered by Honda engines. But when Honda finally made a comeback in the turbo-hybrid era, the combination of these two could not achieve any substantial success on the grid.

More recently, Honda F1 boss Yamamoto said there was a communication barrier between the two companies, and it arises out of “too much mutual respect”.

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Oct 24, 2021; Austin, TX, USA; Red Bull Racing Honda driver Max Verstappen (33) of Team Netherlands (left) and Red Bull Racing Honda driver Sergio Perez (11) of Team Mexico (center) and Honda Chief Executive Masashi Yamamoto (right) celebrate on the podium after the running of the United States Grand Prix Race at Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Too much respect between the Mclaren F1 team and Honda

When Honda returned to the sport in 2015, it became an obvious choice for Mclaren, seeing their successful history. However, it didn’t turn out as rosy this time for the Woking-based outfit. The two paired up for three seasons between 2015 to 2017, where Mclaren ended up taking 9th, 6th, and 9th spot in the Constructors’ standings.

In a recent interview reported by Autosport, Honda F1 boss Yamamoto said that communication was an enormous challenge in their partnership with Mclaren. Yamamoto believes that there is much mutual respect between the two and it is causing the issue.

“Starting from McLaren days, we have learned a lot from them but we think we had a mutual respect too much,” said Yamamoto as reported by Autosport.

“That’s why we had maybe a shortness, a little bit, of communication, and then it was a shame that the project didn’t go well.”

The Woking-based team then switched to Renault and Honda partnered with Alpha Tauri/Toro Rosso. More recently, Max Verstappen won a drivers’ championship in a Honda-powered Red Bull car.

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Despite the success in this season, Honda has decided to leave F1. Red Bull will be taking over their engine needs and Honda will extend their support in the process. Yamamoto says the Japanese manufacturer is firm on its decision to leave and this years’ success will change nothing.

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With Red Bull taking over its engine production, it will be interesting to see if they can prepare a car as good as the one that brought them a championship.

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Rituraj Tripathi

259 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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