TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. said on Tuesday it will go it alone in Formula One from next year after acquiring a 100-percent stake in the BAR Honda team.
Honda announced its buyout of founding owner British American Tobacco's 55-percent majority share ahead of this weekend's home grand prix at Suzuka, Honda's 100th race with BAR.
"We began negotiations in the summer to increase our share from 45 percent to full acquisition," Honda's operating officer Hiroshi Oshima told Reuters. "We want to race as Honda and we want to challenge for the championship. We want to take the team in a better direction."
The BAR Formula One team was bought by a joint venture between engine partners Honda and British American Tobacco in January.
British American Tobacco owned 55 percent of BARH Limited with Honda holding 45 percent.
Honda also said it would rename the new team in agreement with future sponsors.
"Basically it will be 100 percent Honda from 2006," Oshima said. "We will complete the buyout by the end of the year. We have a highly motivated team and we expect to be much stronger."
He added: "The name will be Honda something-or-other but we will have to talk with the sponsors before making that decision."
British American Tobacco, which provided most of the money to start the team in 1999, had previously owned 90 percent of the shares with the rest divided between a handful of co-founders.
The tobacco company had intended to exit the sport as legislation against tobacco advertising came into force earlier this year.
A European Union directive banned all print and radio advertising as well as event sponsorship by tobacco companies from August 1 this year.
BAR finished runners-up to Ferrari in last year's constructors' title with drivers Jenson Button of Briton and Japan's Takuma Sato.
The team has struggled to repeat that performance this year and Sato will make way for Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in a new-look Honda outfit from next season.