Honda has participated in Formula One, as an engine manufacturer and team owner, for various periods since 1964. Honda’s involvement in Formula One began with the 1964 season, and in 1965 they achieved their first victory at the Mexican Grand Prix. After further success with John Surtees, Honda withdrew at the end of the 1968 season due to difficulties selling road cars in the United States and Honda driver Jo Schlesser’s fatal accident.
Honda returned in 1983 as an engine manufacturer, which started a very successful period for the company. After winning races in 1984 and 1985, Honda won the Constructors’ Championship every year between 1986 and 1991 with Williams and McLaren, and the Drivers’ Championship every year from 1987 to 1991 with Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Honda withdrew at the end of 1992 after having achieved their targets and suffering the burst of the Japanese asset price bubble.
Honda returned again in 2000, providing engines for British American Racing (BAR). BAR-Honda finished second in the Constructors’ Championship in 2004, and by the end of 2005 Honda had bought out the BAR team, which was rebranded as Honda for 2006. After a good 2006 season where Jenson Button won the Hungarian Grand Prix, Honda announced in December 2008 that they would be exiting Formula One with immediate effect due to the global financial crisis, following two difficult seasons in 2007 and 2008.
In May 2013, Honda announced their intention to return to the sport in the 2015 season under a works agreement with McLaren to supply power units. The first iterations of the Honda engines proved to be uncompetitive, and Honda spent their first three years under the harsh scrutiny of the public eye as they developed their power unit. McLaren and Honda split after three years, Toro Rosso however, agreed to use Honda engines for the 2018 season as a works outfit. Following a fairly successful season with Toro Rosso, Honda showing fast and potent development with the engines, Red Bull Racing agreed to also take on Honda engines for the 2019 season. Their first victory of the hybrid era was at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, and after several highly successful displays, the Honda power unit is now considered to be one of the front running engines.
As an engine manufacturer, Honda has won six World Constructors’ Championships, five World Drivers’ Championships and over 70 Grands Prix, ranking fifth in Formula One history. In addition to their success as an engine manufacturer, their three Grand Prix wins as a team owner make them the only Japanese or Asian team to win in Formula One.