JULY 13, 2002
Don't forget Mugen...
MUGEN, the Honda Family-owned engine company, has been out of Formula 1 since Honda's official return to the World Championship but it is not impossible that the company could be back in the sport again next year, working in parallel with Honda. The company, which has been building F1 engines since 1989, has been actively involved in the sport since 1991 when it began preparing old Honda V10s for Tyrrell while the Honda factory worked on V12 engines. These were rebadged Mugen MF351H in 1992 and were supplied to Footwork Arrows and in 1994 to Team Lotus. That year Mugen designed its own ZA5C V10, although there was considerable support from Honda engineers on loan to Mugen and in 1996 the company scored its first win in F1 when Olivier Panis stormed to victory in Monaco.
Ligier was taken over by Alain Prost and the team used Mugens until the current deal with Peugeot began in 1998 when the relationship between Mugen and Jordan began. This has resulted in two wins: the first for Damon Hill in Belgium that year and the second for Heinz-Harald Frentzen in France in 1999.
The return of Honda in an official capacity with BAR led to a period of cohabitation between Mugen and Honda which ended when a deal was struck between Honda and Jordan.
With Honda and Jordan thought unlucky to do a deal for next year there might be a possibility for Mugen - although all the signs at the moment are that Jordan is going for a supply of Cosworth V10 engines. The problem is that there are three teams trying to do Cosworth deals and only two supplies available.
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