It’s been coming for a long while, so it should surprise no one to learn that McLaren and Honda have finally called it quits. Sources confirmed to Motorsport.com and Sky Sports that the two companies have finally settled on a deal that will end a partnership that has been nothing but heartache and tears. McLaren has reportedly inked a three-year deal to use Renault engines, ending in 2020 along with the current engine regulations. This also means McLaren driver Fernando Alonso is likely to extend his contract beyond the end of this season.
When Honda first announced it was returning to F1 with McLaren, fans had visions of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button reliving the glory days of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the late 1980s. The truth couldn’t be further removed. At points, McLaren has struggled to make it the full race distance, much less win races and fight for championships. Frankly, it’s been embarrassing for both Honda and McLaren. No one comes out a winner here. Honda has sullied any reputation it had in F1, while Alonso’s talent and McLaren’s engineering expertise were both wasted the past few seasons.
According to Motorsport.com, McLaren will get the same engine parity as the factory Renault Sport team as well as Red Bull Racing. Assuming that McLaren can provide a competitive chassis, that should vault it at least into the middle of the pack.
Team principal Zak Brown hasn’t been quiet about his frustrations. After both McLaren drivers failed to finish in Italy, Brown told Sky Sports, “We need to get more competitive. This weekend showed we’re not making any significant progress.”
Meanwhile, Toro Rosso will switch from Renault to Honda power, with Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. making the move to Renault. What that means for Red Bull’s junior team is unclear.
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