Mugen to leave F1 at end of season

Following the announcement of Jordan's five year works Honda engine deal, the team's current engine supplier Mugen is set to disappear from Formula 1 at the end of this year

Mugen to leave F1 at end of season

Mugen, the Honda-owned engineering specialists, entered Formula 1 in 1992 with Footwork, preparing ex-McLaren Honda V10s. After a largely unsuccessful partnership with Lotus, it joined forces with the Ligier team, now Prost.

Supplying Ligier was viewed as a convenient test arena for Honda to carry out development away from the limelight before returning with a full works assault. But that assault did not materialise until last year, when Honda began exclusively supplying British American Racing.

But Honda has now handed a works deal to Jordan, and as of next year will supply both teams on an equal basis.

Originally, this looked like good news for Prost, which looked a possible candidate to renew its links with the Japanese firm. However, with two Honda works teams, Mugen will be surplus to requirements, with many of its personnel set to be absorbed into the Honda effort. This leaves Prost little in the way of options on engines for next year, laying yet more woe at the French team's door.

The team could attempt to make peace with existing engine supplier Peugeot, which is set to leave F1 at the end of the season, but could stay in on a semi-works basis, or as some sources suggest, pressure may be put on Supertec to supply France's 'national team'.

Mugen will concentrate on its existing engine programmes in the Formula Nippon series in Japan.

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Craig Pollock

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