Skip to content

Honda’s last stint in F1, from 2006-08, had more lows than highs

May 16, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

AUTO-F1-SILVERSTONE-HONDA-BECKHAM Getty Images

The last three years Honda was in F1 came as both a constructor and engine partner. Some highlights were sprinkled in during an otherwise troublesome period.

The RA106 was among the most powerful of the new V8 engines that came into play starting in 2006, the technical period that ends at the final round of this year. But unreliability punctuated the year for Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello; technical management shakeups included Geoff Willis being reassigned to the factory and Shuhei Nakamoto being named new technical director. Barrichello had moved to Honda after his six-year stint as Ferrari number 2 to Michael Schumacher ended.

Things came right in the second half of the year with Button’s fortuitous if well-judged first career win in the rain of Hungary in 2006, and Barrichello with one of several fourth place finishes.

Come 2007, the withdrawal of sponsor British American Tobacco left Honda with a car basically devoid of primary sponsors. The “myearthdream” campaign, with an “Earth”-liveried though, was a nightmare for the team.

Aerodynamic issues plagued the car all year. Button scored only six points – four of them in the another rain-affected race in China with fifth place – while Barrichello went scoreless.

Things were little better in 2008, although this time Barrichello maximized the performance in a rain-affected race. He finished third in the 2008 British Grand Prix, in what was Honda’s last F1 podium.

Honda pulled the plug on its satellite team, Super Aguri F1, after four races in 2008. The plucky underdogs had grown a following thanks to some of the more amateurish pay-drivers in its first year (Yuji Ide and Sakon Yamamoto), but Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson had punched above their weight on occasion. Sato’s 2007 Canadian Grand Prix stood out in particular, when he finished sixth after a pass of Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.

The factory team met the same fate at the end of 2008. The Brawn GP grew from Honda’s ashes, with developmental work done on Brawn’s 2009 car thanks to ex-Super Aguri staff members among others. It was a case of “what might have been” for Honda, but it did allow the team to continue with both Button and Barrichello resurrecting their careers.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR team owner Jack Roush talks possible Cup engine changes

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT

    Zippo 200 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Significant modifications to the Cup cars’ powerplants are likely to come within the next two seasons.

  2. James Hinchcliffe says he’s good with Ryan Hunter-Reay after Long Beach crash

    Apr 18, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    The two Andretti Autosport drivers appear to have put Sunday’s wreck behind them.

  3. Sometimes, NASCAR media centers become comedy clubs (VIDEO)

    Apr 18, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Matt Kenseth AP

    You can’t say these drivers don’t have a sense of humor.

  4. Formula E’s first two track layouts now revealed

    Apr 18, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    GERMANY-AUTOMOBILE-ECONOMY-FAIR-IAA Getty Images

    The second round of the championship in Putrajaya, Malaysia will see drivers contest a short, 1.6-mile street circuit.

  5. Transition back to IndyCar “still hard” for Juan Pablo Montoya

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Montoya Getty Images

    Two races into his return to open-wheel, the former Indy 500 winner says he’s having a tough time with re-learning tracks.

  6. It’s early yet, but keep these qualifying stats in mind for future IndyCar street races

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Long-Beach-Lead Getty Images

    Here’s a look at the grid based on average qualifying positions through 2 races in 2014.

  7. IndyCar drivers mimic their cars, and it’s rather humorous (VIDEO)

    Apr 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Dixon Getty Images

    IndyCar drivers do their best “hey, this is what this sounds like!” imitations.

  8. Porsche, Audi lead Friday practice in WEC opener at Silverstone

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT

    Lucas Di Grassi, Loic Duval, Tom Kristensen AP

    Two practice sessions begin a new year for the WEC.

  9. F1 engine technology could hinder efforts to improve sound

    Apr 18, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Making the V6s louder might not be such an easy fix.

  10. Vettel suspects Mercedes of sandbagging during practice

    Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Sebastian Vettel AP

    German driver not yet happy with his own performance in China, but his long run pace suggests that a podium finish may be within his reach.

  11. Maldonado brushes off crash and spin in practice

    Apr 18, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Rookie errors from Lotus driver no big deal, apparently.

  12. Mattiacci determined to turn around Ferrari’s failing season

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Marco Mattiacci AP

    Mattiacci thought that job offer was a late April Fools joke at first; says that necessary changes will take place.

  13. Alonso keen on dry qualifying in China

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Spanish driver puts in an impressive display during practice, but warns that rain could scupper Ferrari’s chances of reaching the podium.

  14. New regulations crucial in Honda’s decision to return to F1

    Apr 18, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT

    Yasuhisa Arai, Senior Managing Officer and Director, Chief Officer of Motorsports, Honda R&D Co. poses at the Honda Motor Co's headquarters in Tokyo Reuters

    Yasuhia Arai reveals some more information about Honda’s decision to return to F1 and the Japanese marque’s plans for the future.

  15. Difficult day in Hamilton’s eyes despite finishing fastest

    Apr 18, 2014, 6:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Hamilton keen on the team correcting handling issues before qualifying tomorrow.

  16. Hamilton recovers in FP2 to edge out Alonso and Rosberg

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:32 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Mercedes returns to the top of the timesheets, but Ferrari and Alonso are in close company.

  17. WATCH LIVE: Alonso looks to double up in Shanghai

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:45 AM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Can Mercedes fight back and resume normal service?

  18. Alonso fastest in first practice for Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT

    Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain arrives for a news conference ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit Reuters

    Spanish driver ends Mercedes streak of first place finishes, but teammate Kimi Raikkonen fails to post a time.

  19. NASCAR AMERICA: Can Gene Haas succeed with an American-based F1 team?

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the expectations for Gene Haas as he looks to start a F1 team. The pair question whether an F1 team can be run successfully out of the United States.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

The new faces of NASCAR

Featured video

Paddock Pass: Inside the Chinese GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (16669)
  2. K. Harvick (5723)
  3. M. McDowell (2930)
  4. C. Edwards (1537)
  5. A. Seuss (1512)
  1. K. Busch (1180)
  2. T. Bayne (1112)
  3. B. Myers (1067)
  4. L. Fleming (1024)
  5. J. Myers (1003)