the last car and line-up (2008)
Honda Racing F1 Team was a Formula One team run by Japanese car manufacturer Honda. The team was based in the United Kingdom, and uses the facilities of former British American Racing, which Honda fully acquired in 2005. The Honda team is led by Nick Fry and Geoff Willis, and currently has drivers Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, and Anthony Davidson. The team still uses the same predominantly white livery that Honda used in the sport during the 1960s. The car entry for the 2006 season is the RA106 and the new V8 Honda engine is the RA806E, consistent with the nomenclature from its previous two generations of F1 competition.
Honda also surprised everyone by entering Grand Prix racing in 1963 , just three short years after producing their first road car. They began development in 1962 of the RA271 and startled the European-dominated Formula One garages with their all-Japanese factory team (except for American drivers Ronnie Bucknum and Richie Ginther). More startling was the fact that Honda built their own engine and chassis, something only Ferrari had traditionally done. In only their second year of competition, Honda reached the coveted top step of the podium with Ginther's win in the RA272 at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix. Another Honda racecar with a high-revving 3-litre engine called the RA300 scored, driven by John Surtees, won the 1967 Italian Grand Prix. That car was partly designed by Lola in the UK. Honda backed up their Grand Prix victories by dominating the 1966 Formula 2 season, winning every race that year with Jack Brabham's team.
Honda as an engine supplier 1983-1992
Honda returned to Formula One in 1983 as an engine supplier for Spirit and stayed in the sport for a decade, at various times teaming with Lotus, McLaren, Tyrrell and Williams. Honda engines were considered the ticket to Grand Prix glory due to their power, reliability, and winning track record. Honda supplied its engines to six constructor champions, as well as five driver championships (3 by Senna, 1 by Piquet, and another by Prost), before dropping out of the sport again. Honda-powered cars had won 71 Grands Prix, by the end of the 1992 season.
Aborted F1 project 1999
From 1993 to 1998, Honda's only presence in F1 was as an engine supplier through its associates Mugen Motorsports, who supplied engines to teams such as Ligier, Prost and Jordan. Mugen-powered cars have won 4 Grands Prix, by the end of the 1999 season. In 1998, Honda was seriously considering entry into Formula One as a constructor, going as far as producing an engine and hiring Harvey Postlethwaite as technical director and deisgner. A test car, designed by Postlethwaite and built by Dallara was made, and tested during 1999. At a test of this car, Postelthwaite suffered a fatal heart attack, and the project was later shelved, and Honda decided to merely recommit as a full works engine supplier to BAR, starting in 2000.
Partnership with British American Racing
Honda returned yet again in 2000 , providing engines for BAR. They also supplied engines to Jordan Grand Prix for 2001 and 2002 . This would lead to a battle for the right to use the Honda engines in the long term. In 2003 , despite their better showing in the previous 2 seasons, Honda dropped Jordan Grand Prix. In mid-November 2004 Honda purchased 45% of the BAR team from British American Tobacco (BAT, the founder and owner of BAR) following BAR's best season, when they were able to achieve second place in the 2004 Formula One season.
In September 2005 Honda purchased the remaining 55% share of BAR to become the sole owner. BAT will continue as title sponsor with the Lucky Strike brand in 2006, but will withdraw entirely from Formula One after that. It has been decided that team will race under the name Honda Racing F1 Team in 2006. So far the team has been fairly mediocre, accumulating one podium in seven races, a third place finish from Jenson Button at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The main reason for lack of form (the team was expecting to challenge for the championship) has been down to reliability, with the team dropping out of contention for race victories many times. Rubens Barrichello has not had a good for the team, down to the fact that he has had to get used to the new brakes and traction control. Nevertheless Rubens has out-qualified his team-mate in the previous three races.
Honda F1 to Brawn GP
After the financial crisis of 2008/2009 Honda F1 withdrawed their Formula 1 programme. After weeks of negotiating with different buyers, former Honda F1's Brawn bought the Brackley based outfit and renamed it Brawn F1 for the 2009 season.