The reincarnated McLaren Honda Formula 1 team is officially dead following an announcement of their divorce at the Singapore Grand Prix.
After soldiering on through a mutually abusive relationship for three years, McLaren and Honda have decided to split for greener pastures in the interest of both parties upon the completion of the 2017 season.
“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 Zak Brown, Executive Director of the McLaren Technology Group.
“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.”
Brown’s sentiments were echoed by Takahiro Hachigo, President & Representative Director of Honda Motor Co. “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.
“On behalf of Honda, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to fans who have been very supportive of the team as well as the drivers, team members and everyone involved who shared with us in the joys and disappointments since we began preparing for our return to F1 in 2015.”
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Despite the trouble, Honda will remain on the grid in 2018 when it switches to supplying Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s junior squad. McLaren, on the other hand, has announced it will switch to Renault power for 2018, 2019, and 2020, before the FIA introduces a new engine formula for 2021 and beyond.
It’s a sigh of relief for McLaren, with Brown saying the announcement “gives us the stability we need to move ahead with our chassis and technical program for 2018 without any further hesitation.”
Renault is mutually excited. “It is the first time that Renault will work with McLaren and we are proud to have reached an agreement with an organization that has such a rich Formula 1 history,” said Jérôme Stoll, President of Renault Sport Racing. “This alliance is not only technical and sporting, but also comes with marketing and communication benefits. We know that McLaren will push us hard on track and this competition will be to the benefit of all.”
And just like that McLaren has ditched the most unreliable power unit on the grid for one that fails only slightly less frequently.
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