You’d have thought so. This could go down as one of the biggest fiascos in F1 history. I’m not sure Honda’s heart is really in the job. I remember chatting to a senior Honda engineer at Silverstone in the BAR days. We were talking about Formula One and engines and after a few minutes he confessed that he’d spent most of his working life in Honda’s bike racing teams and that he wasn’t really interested in four-wheel racing. Once we got onto the subject of Mick Doohan and two-strokes he really came on cam.
One thing’s for sure, Honda does bikes better than it does cars. Have you seen photos of the RC213V road-going Moto GP bike concept? Honda had it on its stand at Geneva and there was a constant stream of drooling hacks looking at it. More there were looking at the NSX and Civic Type R.
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The former is a step in the right direction but Honda could be making the same mistake as it made with the original NSX. I loved that car but it wasn’t clever enough.
A company that made a five-cylinder 125cc race bike that revved to over 20,000rpm in the 1960s and a bike with oval pistons in the decade that followed, should have stuck two fingers up to Ferrari and everyone else by building a car with an engine so technically outragreous, that it mattered not that the badge on the front wasn’t sexy or included a horse or bull on it. A four-wheeled RC30 would have done the job.
I don’t what the average age of a Honda car owner is these days but the car park at my mum’s retirement appartments is full of Honda Jazzs. And I don’t think their owners bought them because they have fond memories of Senna and Prost’s Honda-powered dominance of the 1988 Formula One season.
Honda needs to start winning in F1, get back to the glory days of spending more on R&D than most other car companies and most importantly build some brilliant road cars.
Ask Goodwin is a new weekly column on evo.co.uk by Colin Goodwin, one of the UK's most popular motoring journalists – and one of the early contributors to evo magazine.
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