McLaren ditch Honda for Renault in 2018 0


They say ‘never go back’…

Nowhere does this ring truer than in Formula 1 and in particular, the beleaguered partnership between McLaren and Honda which has decided to separate after a disastrous 2017-2018 season to date.

A partnership with French manufacturer Renault has been lined up for next season, as the British team attempt to discover a winning formula that can help them move up the grid.

It is a sad end to a partnership that enjoyed incredible success in the 1980s when iconic drivers Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna swept all before them. McLaren and Honda reunited in 2015, but the current batch of engines have been slow and unreliable.

The collaboration with Renault, should keep Fernando Alonso driving for the team for another year at least. The Spanish driver’s contract expires at the end of the current season, but insiders say he is poised to put pen to paper on a new deal.

Honda will continue in Formula 1 next season, partnering with Toro Rosso, the sister team to Red Bull.

“There has never been any doubt over Honda’s commitment and energy to the mission of success in Formula One,” McLaren’s executive director Zak Brown said.

“They are proven winners and innovators. For a combination of reasons our partnership has not flourished as any of us would have wished.

“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.”

McLaren-Honda was Formula 1’s leading light in the late eighties and early nineties. Prost and Senna duelled it out on the track, sharing World Championship after World Championship between them.

The current incarnation of the partnership has been an unmitigated disaster however. The team sit second last in the constructor’s standings. Alonso himself has been highly critical of the team’s shortcomings.

McLaren believes the planned collaboration with Renault for 2018 will see the team once more battle it out with Ferrari and Mercedes at the sharp end of the table.  

“Today’s announcement gives us the stability we need to move ahead with our chassis and technical programme for 2018 without any further hesitation,” Brown added.

“As an organisation, McLaren has always worked extremely hard to form lasting partnerships with its technical suppliers. We’re convinced that we can bring real value to Renault Sport Racing as we work alongside it to develop this current power unit into a regular race winner.”

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