Secret Formula 1 Honda R&D Program Revealed


History tells us that Honda quit Formula 1 in 2008, but things aren’t always what they seem, and Honda is Honda. Being Honda, the company’s Japanese engineers continued to work in secret on a 2009 design … and, if reports from the UK are to be believed, they didn’t stop there.

That secret car was to be called the Honda RA109. Conventional wisdom says that the RA109 became the championship-winning Brawn BGP001 that took Jenson Button all the way to the 2009 World Drivers’ Championship before the team was sold to Mercedes-Benz and the car evolved into the dominant 2014 Mercedes/AMG Hybrid that is, as I type this, well on its way to delivering a WDC to Nico Rosberg. To an extent, that is true, but there was – and is! – still a distinct and separate RA109, and development on that car led Honda to create a 2014/2015 spec hybrid power unit which will be used by McLaren in 2015.

British magazine Racecar Engineering takes a deep dive into the Formula 1 Honda program that could have been, and explores some of the proposed R109’s aero trickery …


Formula 1 Honda RA109 – Aero Testing






… as well as some insight into the type of hybrid power unit and KERS systems Honda had in development for its 2010+ Formula 1 car. You know, the one they didn’t know they’d ever have a chance to build/run/race?

Gotta love Honda.

You can check out some great CAD drawings of the hybrid system, below. And – if this kind of thing interests you at all – you should definitely head over to Racecar Engineering’s original article for way more great, behind-the-scenes Formula 1 Honda development pics. Enjoy!


Formula 1 Honda RA109 – Hybrid Power




Source | Images: Racecar Engineering.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.