Honda has participated in Formula One under many guises for various periods of time since 1964: as an entrant, constructor and engine supplier.
Honda’s involvement in Formula One started in 1964, just four years after producing their first road car. At that point Honda was the only team out of those still running from the sports inception that built their own engine and chassis; something only Ferrari and BRM had previously done. In only the second year of their involvement, Honda reached the top step of the podium with Richie Ginther. Honda’s designs steadily improved until the team withdrew from Formula One at the end of 1968.
The 1980’s saw Honda return to Formula One, this time as an engine supplier to Spirit, who they encouraged to step up from Formula Two (’82-’84), Williams (’84-’87), Lotus (’87-’88), McLaren (’88-’92) and Tyrrell (’91). Within this period of time Honda engines achieved six consecutive constructor champions (Williams ’86-’87 and McLaren ’88-’91) and five consecutive driver championships (Nelson Piquet ’87, Ayrton Senna ’88, ’90, ’91, and Alain Prost ’89).
Honda then went on to supply engines for British American Racing (BAR) and Jordan during the 2000’s. In 2003, Honda moved from Jordan and bought a 45% stake in BAR at the end of 2004, purchasing the remaining 55% to take the team to a full factory effort in September of 2005: Honda Racing F1 was born. Honda Racing F1 took their first victory at the Hungaroring in 2006 after Jenson Button fought his way through from fourteenth. Honda left Formula One at the end of the 2008 season.
In May 2013 Honda announced their intention to return to the sport, rekindling the legendary McLaren-Honda partnership that dominated in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. From the 2015 Formula One season, Honda supply McLaren with V6 engines and ERS units under a ten-year works agreement.