Here’s something I didn’t expect to see on a stand at this years Geneva Motor Show, not one but TWO Honda F1 cars, and even cooler, one of them is from 1967!
Personally, I remember it being a big deal when John Surtees of all people decided to go race for the Honda team back then. It would be like Fernando Alonso going to Toyota this year. Sure, back then, Honda was pumping a lot of money into its F1 efforts, and they were really innovative in a lot of ways, but for a racer with the talent and accomplishments of Big John to go over, that was a risky move and could just end up making everyone look bad.
But first time out with the new car, at Monza no less, Surtees won!
I remember people being really impressed by that, but sadly, it wasn’t indicative of things to come. Honda was up and down for the next bunch of seasons, but never was a real threat to the big boys (Lotus, Tyrell, Ferrari and Brabham). It would take until the 1980s and a whole lot of effort for Honda to become, first, a threat, and ultimately THE standard for race engines.
Honda dominated the late 80s and into the early 90s, then left, then sort of came back, then REALLY came back, building it’s own chassis and dumping in hundreds of millions of dollars into its F1 efforts. Sadly, the have come to naught … but they seems to be getting more and more serious, hiring no less of a talent than Ross Brawn to run the team this year.
Time will tell …
More pictures after the jump.