Honda first entered Formula 1 under the name "Honda R & D Company" in 1964, just four years after they had started manufacturing cars. They were one of only three manufacturers who built both engines and chassis. The team took their first checkered flag at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix, but chassis problems kept their cars from being competitive until it was replaced with the RA301, co-developed with Lola. However, the death of driver Jo Schlesser lead Honda to leave racing after the 1968 season just as its cars were becoming successful.
Honda returned as an engine supplier in 1983, gaining a reputation for reliability and in turn victory at the track. Among drivers of Honda-powered cars was F1 legend Ayrton Senna, who had a hand in the development of the original NSX.
In 1993, Honda partnered with Mugen Motorsports, a tuning company owned by the son of Honda founder Soichiro Honda. The Honda/Mugen engines were so successful that legendary race developer Harvey Postlethwaite was brought in to develop a chassis so that the company could fully re-enter F1 racing. Early tests were promising, but the project was shelved after Postlethwaite suffered a heart attack.
Honda returned to engines in 2000, working closely with British American Racing. By 2005, Honda had taken over BAR, changing its name to "Honda Racing F1." The effort was plagued with problems including reliability issues, pit management problems and aerodynamics flaws. Honda sold the team to its management in 2009 to cut costs. This new organization named itself Braun GP.
Honda is back again, this time working with McLaren. Success has been lacking early in the 2015 season, but the team promises the use of developer tokens will help them turn their new powerplant into a serious challenger by the end of the season.