Singapore : McLaren will split with engine supplier Honda at the end of the 2017 season in the wake of their forgettable three-year partnership in which the famed Formula 1 team failed to win a single podium.
Among a series of announcements at the Singapore Grand Prix, it was also confirmed that McLaren will use Renault engines for three years starting 2018 while Toro Rosso will have Honda powerunits after both parties signed a multi-year deal. Another announcement on expected lines was Carlos Sainz moving to Renault from Toro Rosso for the 2018 season.
The high-profile McLaren-Honda split was on the cards, given the Working squad’s disastrous run in 2017, having scored just nine points in 13 rounds so far to languish in ninth place. A new engine deal may lead to Fernando Alonso staying at McLaren for at least another year though he has not yet made his future plans public. The Spaniard remains determined to win his third title despite the last one coming way back in 2006. He had said yesterday that he wants to give more time to McLaren.
“Whatever I do next year is because I want to win. I will not be around in any series to be fighting for top 10 or top 15, anything like that. There are many options out there that I am studying and looking at. F1 is my first and only priority, so I will wait to make a decision on that before making decisions on other series,” he said. “At the same time, I want to give time to my team. With some struggles, we went through together, I want to have time together to make decisions, to see next year’s car and after they take a decision, I will take mine. I want to stay loyal to them and not make any decisions without them first making their decisions,” he added.Zak Brown, executive director at McLaren Technology Group, said the partnership with Honda was not working. “There has never been any doubt over Honda’s commitment and energy to the mission of success in Formula 1. They are proven winners and innovators. For a combination of reasons our partnership has not flourished as any of us would have wished,” said Brown. “It is certainly not for the want of effort on the part of either Honda or McLaren, but the time has come to move ahead in different directions. As fellow racers, we hope to see the great name of Honda get back to the top – our sport is better for their involvement. I know this view is shared by everyone in the sport,” he added. Honda Motor Co. President Takahiro Hachigo said it was best to part ways under the current circumstances. “It is unfortunate that we must part ways with McLaren before fulfilling our ambitions, however, we made the decision with a belief that this is the best course of action for each other’s future,” he said.