After another disastrous season with Honda power units, McLaren have ended their partnership with the Japanese manufacturer. From 2018 the team, who haven’t been on the top step of the podium since Brazil 2012, will use Renault power units.
For long-term followers of F1, the words “McLaren-Honda” used to conjure up images of intense battles between team-mates Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. It brings back fond memories of 4 consecutive years of securing both the drivers and constructors titles.
So in 2015, news of this partnership being rekindled brought excitement and anticipation to F1 fans across the globe. However, recent results have replaced these fond memories with a brand new nightmare.
The revived partnership has given McLaren rotten reliability and a poverty of power since the very first race of 2015, when booth drivers scored just 27 points and suffered 12 retirements. This left McLaren finish the constructors championship in 9th place, their lowest result since 1981. The following season saw mild improvement, with the team scoring a total of 76 points and finishing in 6th place.
The announcement that McLaren were able to terminate their deal with Honda almost came as a relief to many fans. From 2018 onwards McLaren drivers, who are yet to be announced, will drive Renault powered cars.
It is understood that the deal will last for 3 years, taking us to 2020, when engine regulations are due to change. Rumours suggest that this new deal has, in turn, ended Renault’s deal to power Toro Rosso cars.
McLaren driver, Fernando Alonso, is yet to make a decision about his future within the team. “If I don’t see any projects that will allow me to fight for the win, I will look outside F1” the Spanish driver boldly stated. “For sure, it is not easy to race like this, as you cannot have any good wheel-to-wheel battles.”
Originally posted on 13th September 2017 for Overtake Motorsport
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