Jenson Button 'thrilled and excited' by prospect of working with Honda again
2009 World Champion raced with Japanese engines for six years
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 17/05/13 11:46am
Honda announced on Thursday that they were returning to F1 in 2015 as an engine partner to McLaren, five years on from when the company quit the sport when in the guise of a team owner and 21 years on from the last season of their hugely successful first stint as McLaren's engine supplier.
Button has his own close ties to Honda, and Japan in general, having worked with the company for six years from 2003 when they were first an engine supplier to BAR, and eventually team owner outright, and believes the onset of new challenging engine regulations from next season presents the carmaker with the perfect opportunity to showcase its talents.
"I've already enjoyed a long and successful working relationship with Honda," he said in wake of Thursday's announcement.
"I first raced a Formula 1 car powered by a Honda engine in 2003, and I was a works Honda Formula 1 driver between 2006 and '08, winning my first grand prix in Hungary in 2006 in a Honda Formula 1 car, so I know exactly how passionate Honda is about motorsport, and Formula 1 in particular.
"The challenge set by Formula 1's new technical regulations provides Honda with the perfect opportunity to return to the pinnacle of motorsport. Honda is one of the most experienced and accomplished builders of turbocharged engines anywhere in the world, has always treated Formula 1 as a platform for world-beating technical innovation, and will surely relish the opportunity once again to showcase on a global sporting stage its engine technicians' unparalleled engineering prowess."
Button was 12 years old the last time McLaren ran with Honda power plants and admits the revival of the partnership will evoke many rich memories the world over.
"I grew up watching McLaren-Honda Formula 1 cars racing and winning around the world - they wrote their own glorious chapter of Formula 1 history, in fact. Even now, picturing those unmistakable red-and-white cars evokes vivid memories of some of the most dramatic and exciting motor racing the world has ever seen," he added.
"McLaren-Honda: I know how much passion, success and pride are encapsulated within just those two words. And that's why I'm so thrilled and excited about what's not only a fantastic opportunity for the team, but also a great development for Formula 1 fans and the sport as a whole."
Button's own contract with the Woking team is currently thought to run to the end of next season, meaning the 33-year-old would have to agree an extension to be part of the new McLaren-Honda era.