Formula 1 is in celebratory mood this weekend. The 2019 Chinese Grand Prix marks 1000 races since the very first in the Drivers’ World Championship that was held at Silverstone back in 1950.
Here at Honda, we will have competed in 42.5% of those races in some form.
88 of those races have come as a constructor and yielded three victories, but we’re going to focus on the 424 run so far as a whole, before you even take Mugen’s race-winning history from 1991-2000 into account.
The first Honda-powered F1 car ran in the 1964 German Grand Prix, making its debut at the fearsome Nurburgring circuit. It took only five races to achieve a point-scoring finish with sixth place at Spa-Francorchamps, and that was matched with another sixth at Zandvoort. Those points came courtesy of Richie Ginther, and it was Ginther who then signed off our first full season in F1 in the most special of ways, with victory in the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
It was nearly two years until the next win, as John Surtees - world champion in the year we made our debut - took victory in Monza in the first race for the RA300 in 1967, while the first of two pole positions came at the same venue a year later.
After 38 years out of the sport as a constructor, the first season back in 2006 saw a second pole position in Australia and another win in Hungary - both achieved by Jenson Button - while those 88 constructors’ entries also saw two fastest laps recorded, in Mexico in 1966 and at Spa in 1968.
But it is as an engine supplier that the records really start to stack up.
Of the 336 races that have seen another car powered by Honda, there have been 69 grand prix victories, and they have contributed to the biggest prize of all: the title of world champions.
On six occasions, teams working in partnership with Honda have won the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship, with the first coming with Williams in 1986. That kicked off a run of six championships in a row stretching until 1991, the first two coming with Williams and the next four as supplier to McLaren.
It was an iconic period for both ourselves and the sport, and the records weren’t just limited to wins. In that spell, Honda-powered cars secured 75 pole positions - or over 22% of all the pole positions on offer - and from 1988-89, took pole at 30 of the 32 races.
Victories aside, there were also 97 additional podium finishes, scored with six different teams: Williams, McLaren, Lotus, Tyrrell, BAR and now Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
On top of that, there were a total of 56 fastest laps as an engine and power unit supplier, with success achieved across a variety of regulations in Formula 1, including V6 turbo, V8, V10 and V12 eras.
Add in the three victories, two poles, two fastest laps and six additional podiums as a constructor, and the final tally reads:
Constructors championships: 6
Race wins: 72
Other podiums: 103
Pole positions: 77
Fastest laps: 58
But that’s clearly not going to be enough. As we seek to add another victory to that record in race number 425 - and F1’s 1000th - in China, the ultimate prize of another world championship remains the aim.
In the continuous quest for improvement, the target is for all of the above totals to have been increased by the time we celebrate 500 races in the sport.