McLaren, Hungaroring, 2017

McLaren-Honda divorce ‘imminent’

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In the round-up: McLaren and Honda are shortly expected to confirm the end of their engine supply arrangement.

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  • 91 comments on “McLaren-Honda divorce ‘imminent’”

      1. I doubt it.

        He will stay at Mclaren for another year. Providing Mclaren have the so called second best chassis, they should be on the podium regularly next season. Going to Williams is too much of a risk.

        2019 may be a different proposition. Williams are in transition just now. They have failed to build on their early momentum of this era. With Paddy Lowe, they may well produce a better car next season. However, they need to recruit a top line driver. Kubica may be a bit of a risk for next year, but can he be any worse than the Massa-Stroll combo?

        There aren’t a whole of options out there for Williams is there? Stroll is a mainstay, so they a 25+ year old top line driver..not a lot of them knocking about. There is Di Resta, but he’s not exactly star quality. Well, Andre Lotterer is out of a job next year..why not?

        1. I’m sorry to say I’ve heard whispers of Ericsson replacing Massa. Then again, he may actually be an improvement. Honestly.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            12th September 2017, 8:02

            Perez to Williams and Wehrlien to Force One seems the logical move. Williams get a decent leader, Merc keep Wehrlien in a drive, Force One get a double discount and Sauber make space for LeClerc, everybody wins.

            1. Perez would probably disagree with that assessment – why would he want to go to a team which has gone backwards for years and, for the past few years, has been less competitive than the one he is currently at? Apart from Lowe, there isn’t much at Williams which would make me think it was an improvement.

            2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
              12th September 2017, 8:20

              There is several draws for Perez. 1. More money. 2. Paddy Lowe, probably going to be faster than F1 next year. 3. Get away from Ocon to de facto number one status. 4. Potentially stay under lucrative contract until your well past your prime like Williams current south American if a better drive doesnt materialise, with a sub par teammate to boot

          2. Now, that would be a huge shame.

            If Williams want to push forward, they should go for an Alonso, or Kubica. I’d put money on Alonso staying put with the Renault engine, though.

            1. I agree, ALO or KUB, all the rest are not enough for this task
              KUB left imho

      2. I don’t and never did doubt it. I think Alonso might stay with McLaren Renault, even before the rumours but Paddy Lowe Williams and a the strongest PU is enticing.

        1. Mercedes will never allow Williams to beat them

      3. @gunusugeh

        If the McLaren Honda divorce didn’t take place, I’d think that a Williams move was a possibility. But now…. I really doubt it.

      4. What if Honda builds a cracker for Toro Rosso next year?

        1. Yea, and pigs can fly.

        2. Honestly I would die laughing if that happened !!!!

        3. If that happens RedBull will probably become the Honda works team from 2019 onwards: RedBull Honda. It does have a ring to it.

          Also, Alonso would have traumatized himself for life.

          1. Sort of reminiscent of when Alonso left Ferrari: its performance improved.

            1. Though it took Ferrari 3 years after he left to improve enough to be close to Merc.
              Even then, Merc looks like they will dominate the second half of the season and win yet another championship.

            2. Very true, Alonso did have many chances at Ferrari to do so much more. Now that he’s gone and Seb is in, they’re closer to winning than they ever were.
              Would laugh if Mclaren would stay with Honda and this entire story was the work of some desperate reporters that gained way too much attention.

        4. @jcost It is simple. Then the Honda engine will move to RBR and Renault will move to Torro Rosso. Red Bull deals have flexibility between both teams. They is gambling on Honda improvements. A calculated Risk with eggs in many baskets.

          Redbull can do all the testing with Torro Rosso and once they prime the engine it will move to RBR making it a Works team. Sorry McLaren, the deep pockets of Mr Mateschitz !!!! Starting next year hey can even prepare for the 2021 new engine regulations with Honda. Just like how Merc did before 2014.

          It is win for Honda too. They don’t have to deal with the heavy stress of messing up Alonso’s career. They can improve their engines well enough under the shade of RedBull. Finally once things are working with a little bit of Newey touch they might even start winning races (Which RBR is doing even now ) and possibly championship by 2020. Yes it will be a hard 2018 for Torro Rosso, but hey that is the purpose of the B team. Test new drivers, mechanics, designs and Engines too. Smart move by RBR and Honda I say.

          For McLaren . I dont know what to say. From a works team they go on to become a customer team again !!! Maybe they were just better off sticking with Mercedes in the first place.

          All in All 2018 and Torro Rosso is a works team along with Mercedes , Ferrari, Renault. I have a feeling the first Honda win will come through Torro Rosso. Just like the first Vettel win. Lets see.

          1. This is a very optimistic take – I hope you’re right. During this whole summer, when it looked like McLaren would be unwilling to get Ferrari or Mercedes engines, I often wondered if Renault would be *that* much better than Honda, but the answer is: yeah. Honda still can’t built a reliable engine, let alone one that’s anywhere near the pace. They have a very long way to go, and in 3 years have not proven that they even understand why they’re uncompetitive or have a handle on how to resolve it. Hopefully a new partner team and new environment will be the boost they need to make meaningful developments, but I don’t think Honda has what it takes to turn this around.

            (Not arguing with you, just venting my own frustration now) Why hasn’t there been a V6-turbo-hybrid stuffed in a Super GT NSX and running around Suzuka for 24 hours a day for the last 3 years? Why did Honda start discovering they had problems with their 2017 engine around *Christmas* of 2016 (in Hasegawa’s own words)? Honda complained that they couldn’t improve on their inherently-flawed 2016 engine concept because of token spend. But there was nothing stopping them from building it early in 2016, and perfecting it, even if they had to wait until 2017 to use it. They didn’t do that.

            I always think about this article from summer 2016. Honda was concerned about how other people were spending their tokens instead of doing everything they could to maximize their own developments. A successful enginemaker, I hate to say, would try get away with as much as they can and ask for forgiveness later.

          2. I think this is a genius move from RBR. TR + Honda, the risk is moving from a decent midfield team w/ consistent reliability issues that keep them from fulfilling their potential – which is significant, obviously, but a lot *less* damaging than for a team like FI or Sauber, who’d have to gamble their survival. If TR eats it for a few years, sure it’s a bunch of money, but as long as RBR is still doing okay, relatively little lost in prestige they can’t earn back.

            If Honda turns out to do well (and I still have this suspicion that they can succeed), then RBR is no longer a customer team but a works team. Thing is, Ron Dennis wasn’t wrong. For a team in McLaren’s position, to consistently *win*, they need to be a works team. Renault might want them to do well for a year or two, but once their works team settles in, Mclaren/Renault is stuck in a 2nd priority situation, and their potential becomes permanently capped.

    1. I’d love to see Kubica back, but sadly I honestly don’t see how it would work. F1 drivers always have to be at the top of their game, in terms of physical fitness, and I absolutely admire Kubica’s determination, but his injuries (I would’ve thought) would no question make a difference which would be a measurable disadvantage in F1 (where drivers are separated by tenths of a second per lap), especially over race distances.

      Furthermore, if his injuries are not a problem, the fact is by 2018 he will not have raced anywhere near this high level for 7 years (which is, to put it into perspective, longer than his original time in F1). We’ve seen world champions struggle after just a few years out. Even if Kubica gets a drive, I don’t see how it won’t end in disappointment, for us and him. It will be a struggle and could possibly end after the first year.

      I know it is very negative and pessimistic of me, it is not what I want to think nor what anyone wants to hear (and I’d love to be wrong), but sadly it seems this way to me

      1. And “I’d love to see Kubica back” to prove all the doubters wrong and maybe even help Williams beat Renault in 2018.

      2. I just think that with the current regulations, Robert can’t effectively steer primarily with one hand and keep a hand on all of the switches and toggles of the current regulations, pit to car telemetry would solve it but that’s banned.

        1. @peartree He drove for Renault at Hungaroring, a very tight and twisty circuit. His laptimes looked OK. However, was he 2-3 tenths of what he should have been? If so, that’s all Renault needs to know in order to reject the Pole. What we saw, looking from the outside, however was a driver completing two race distances at more than just acceptable pace.

          1. But Hungary doens’t have long sweeping corners like Pouhon. Will his arm cope with the G-forces generated in such corners?

            1. that was checked already during pre-Hungaro tests
              on Hungaro they, regarding KUB, just checked if he was able to cope with the current car
              I think – they went through the whole test program with success

      3. “F1 drivers always have to be at the top of their game, in terms of physical fitness”

        Not really. The years 2014-2016 were really easy and even the 2017 cars are not that demanding. You need to be in good shape but you also have power steering and paddle shifters so you don’t need to take your hands off the wheel when changing gears. F1 drivers need to be in good shape but it is nothing near any physical limits. The drivers after all aim for certain level of muscle mass. Too much muscle and they are too heavy. The optimum is not peak fitness but optimum weight that get you through the race while making your driver as light as possible.

        1. You obviously underestimate the strain on the body F1 drivers endures .
          High temperatures, very long concentration ( only possible with excellent fitness) and so on… but just hire a older f1 car on Spa )with steering support etc..) and just try out for yourself.

      4. I think Kubica is fit to race, I don’t think his main hurdle to get a seat in 2018 is his fitness.

        1. I agree, kubica says he is fitter than ever and weighs less than in his previous spell, doubters can go to hell, he knows he can drive f1 and knows his limitations better than armchair experts, he says he can drive these cars fine Its all about money with these contracts though… sainz didnt get the renault seat on talent, he was part of a ‘deal’. I hope Kubica gets the williams seat and massa moves on to formula e.

      5. Why not enter a Formula 2 season to prove he is more than ready? Is he busy otherwise? I think that if he starts crushing the opposition left and right, F1 teams will get him mid-season without hesitation. I think there is more to this story than what we see. It looks like the hype was for PR purposes, with both Kubica and Renault understanding that real chances of him returning are slim.

    2. It’s time to move on… Honda might get it right in the near future, maybe even hit the jackpot and start winning races very soon, but the relationship reached a point of no return… nothing good will come out of those two companies working together after these 3 years…

      1. Could not have put it better myself

      2. it’s true, 3 years is far too long to still be getting the same hopeless (for mclaren) results. unfortunately, i feel this will backfire significantly on mclaren. essentially, they got out of the mercedes deal in 2014 because they didn’t want to be a customer team – perhaps fair enough given merc were running away with things at the time. however, if/when they take the renault deal they will obviously be a customer team again, but it goes further than that. honda going to toro rosso will give red bull ample opportunity to evaluate whether or not to take honda up as their supplier in the future. red bull are likely to be wary of the renault works team doing the same thing that mercedes did to mclaren. if that happens, and the renault team gets it together then mclaren is exactly back to square one (2014) minus several years and several hundred million.

        the only potential upside is that the renault is surely better than the honda. but there are no guarantees this situation will pertain in 2018 and beyond. how and why mclaren lost its works mercedes deal explain its current situation (and arguably the current status quo at the sharp end of the sport).

      3. I wish there had been more will for the companies to work together to resolve their problems, but I think it is now too late. I don’t think it is all one sided, Honda were given a difficult task in trying to make a V6 hybrid system fit into the shoe box size space McLaren had left for it, and then they had to cope with F1’s Token System, which was guaranteed to hinder any manufacturer who’s engine wasn’t putting cars at the front of the grid.
        I don’t think Honda helped themselves by not having a test rig that simulated F1 conditions.

        1. I am sure I read somewhere that McLaren never told Honda to fit the engine into a small space.

          I do think this move is going to backfire spectacularly. Honda will nail it at some point and I am putting a good bet on them nailing it next year. They are now working with Illmore so I would be surprised if next years PU is going to be even close to as bad as they have been so far. Renault however are only a little bit more powerful the Honda and have similarly terrible reliability… If I were McLaren I would not jump ship until a far more viable partner came along.

          1. I’d read somewhere that McLaren had decided the way to go was to use a concept called “Size Zero” in their aerodynamic design, which, as I understand it, left the absolute minimum amount of space for the engine that it get away with. Since the Honda engine was a brand new design one would have expected there to be more latitude given in case things needed to change.
            One obvious problem with the Honda engine, or at least a problem as I perceived it, was the engine made a sort of “chuffing” or “burbling” noise under acceleration and at full power, which I equated with a turbine, turbo-charger, MGU-H, or whatever it is called, that was too small. So exhaust gases that should have been spinning the turbine were being “vented” or allowed to bypass the turbine, thus wasting power that should have been harnessed.
            It was only this year that problem was resolved. I equated the resolution of that problem with the arrival of Zak Brown late last year, but the abolition of the Token System would also have finally allowed Honda to dump the inadequately sized turbine as well. It is a mystery to me why Honda hadn’t used their first allocation of Tokens to resolve this problem. I can only conclude that McLaren wanted the inadequate turbine.

            1. Honda complained that they couldn’t swap the turbine because they would have to change the engine layout and it wouldn’t be allowed until after the 2016 season. I think they were switching to a Mercedes-like split-turbo setup but I’m not 100% clear on what the layout was before. The change was planned before Zak Brown got there.

        2. Similarly, I don’t think McLaren did Honda or themselves any favors by forbidding them to supply another team, which could have sped their development process a good bit. It would be ironic if STR dominated the midfield in the next couple of years. In the meantime, McLaren is now competing with two other teams with considerable resources. Success against RBR and Renault is not a certainty.

    3. So much speculation and articles and comments on this Sainz – Renault – Toro Rosso – Red Bull – McLaren – Renault – Honda deal. Just get it over already.

      Is this one of the most complicated mid-contract swaps in F1 as it involves both drivers and engines. Alonso leaving Ferrari also caused a decent domino effect but that was related to drivers alone.

      Interestingly, because Alonso broke contract with Ferrari, Sainz got a chance in F1 back in 2014. Again, because McLaren want to retain Alonso, Sainz has got a chance to be with a manufacturer team in 2017 :)

    4. It goes against all logic to sign with Renault. Even for RBR to allow McLaren to catch up after venting in frustration they’re tied to Renault’s conservative engine plans for the years to come. Customers don’t win titles. Nobody is here to become 6th and Renault isn’t going to say ”yes we’ll make you better then RBR and ourselves” . McLaren & Honda have enough budget so it just looks like Alonso runs that company after Ron Dennis left.

      But if this happens, McLaren gets Renault, gets 4/6th next year (100%), Honda buys Toro-Rosso and Alonso stays. But that can only result in two things;
      1. Honda actually builds a ridiculous good engine/car and gets a Brawn-kind of year as they’re now in it on their own to prove everyone wrong. Do people really think if Honda wants to stay after throwing $300 million at McLaren they’re just going to pity themselves now?
      Remember the Brawn car was a Honda-lite concept car. And the diffuser was by far not the reason that car performed so well. It could’ve been much stronger. Mark my words.
      2. Alonso proves not to be that great genius anymore as Vandoorne out-scores him when they can actually race, and shows his age with dumb things like when he wasted his WDC in 2012 vitally in Suzuka. But McLaren don’t win any race until 2021 because they’re now behind RBR/-Renault as suppliers anyway. This last part will happen regardless of point 1, so this new deal would be a pure gamble.

      1. So they should just stick with Honda, and hope they get it right. When, obviously matters not, in your view. McLaren hoped, hell we all did, that Honda would get it right in maybe year 2, and be at least reliable now to build for year 3 onward. Honda can’t even design a reliable power unit so both cars can finish races. McLaren simply cannot allow promises of delivering a power unit to finish races (not to win or be on the podium you understand) which are simply not realised to go on. The damage to their brand could be terminal. Taking a chance, and I accept it is that, on Renault is almost certainly a better option. True, winning races is out of question, but finishing races in the top 10 for the next few years till 2021 is preferable.

        Honda have just underestimated what was needed to get back into F1 & I say good riddance.

      2. @xiasitlo One of the most important parts for Brawn’s car was getting rid of that Honda engine!

        Go back & read what Rubens & Jenson said about the Mercedes engine once they drove with it.

        1. I’m not sure if Rubens and Jenson were correct.
          @xiositlo put it in bold and we have to ‘mark his words’; he might be onto something :p

        2. Mark Hughes also [posted a comment on this article recently]( where he mentioned the difference the Brawn engineers found between the Honda and Mercedes:

          > The car would have been aerodynamically and mechanically better with the engine it was designed for, certainly. But those inside the team were saying the Merc engine found them 0.8s of performance straight away over the Honda. So would the car benefits have clawed the 0.8s back? That’s forever an unknown, obviously.

          Furthermore, [this F1Fanatic article from 2009]( reinforces that:

          > Earlier this year I asked a Brawn engineer whether he thought the team would have been as competitive if its cars were still using Honda engines instead of Mercedes.

          > The response came back firmly in the negative, and various disparaging remarks were made about the quality of Honda’s engines and their inability to remove the skin from rice pudding.

          To add to that, in Brawn’s book he says that he didn’t think the BGP 001 would even get into Q3 with a Honda engine.

          1. +1! That’s what I’ve been saying this whole time.

            This whole “McLaren needs to be a manufacturer backed team in order to competer for/win championships” is overplayed and overstated, in my opinon.

            Red Bull won from 2009 to 2013 and again in 2014 and 2016, despite being customers to Renault. Right, people can argue that in 2011 to 2015 (before Renault re-bought “Lotus”) they were effectively “manufacturer backed”, since they were the leading team supplied by Renault; but they never really had a say on engine design/configuration or whatsoever in order to integrate the unit better with their chassis, did they (the primary benefit of being manufacturer backed, aside from the $$$)? Also, Renault never really lost sleep with the fact that their enginers were some 10% down on power compared to Mercedes/Ferrari in the latter years of the V8 era, despite it making the RBR package less optimal.

            I suppose it matters whether a team is manufacturer backed or not, to a certain extent. But ultimately, races and championships will be won by a team who has the most optimal package. Until this year, a lot of us thought that Mercedes had only been winning from 2014-2016 due to their engine (a la Williams BMW circa 2001/2002), but with the new regulatons they proved that they also knew how to design world-class F1 chassis. In 2016, Ferrari’s engine was good but the chassis it was bolted to was not, so the Scuderia failed to be competitive.

            Similarly, I think Red Bull being less competitive is not solely down to Renault. I get this nagging feeling that as highly rated as Adrian Newey is, he hasn’t really hit it (yet) with this years regulations; like he missed out during 2014 – 2016. But then again, despite his brilliance in the 1990s, in the 2000s his only great designs were the MP4-15, MP4-20 and 2009 Red Bull.

          2. @polo

            Honda had worked out their correlation problems, they invented many aero advantages for the car as well that would have compensated for the lack of top end speed.

            The Brawn engineers had not tested the completed engine program yet. They all neglected the aero and mechanical synergy, this are Honda and neutral sources. But they also told they wouldn’t not been 1st as constructors, nut the second car with a Mercedes engine was McLaren and they also lacked so to call it pure to the Honda engine was speculation they said.

          3. Steve Matchett once described the Honda engine as very sensitive – right on the edge between speed and reliability.

            He claimed if during a pit, if the engine idled a few extra seconds it could break.

      3. Yeah new deal will turn out to be another in the line of many Alonso contracts that turned out to not be a wdc.

        Honda car still needed a Mercedes engine.

        STR is a great base for a team. Their aero is good, unencumbered by ego, stuck a 1100hp Honda in there and they would be dominating. Also I hazard a guess, they would do more with 100M than McLaren can.

        Also their drivers know theit place and are easy to replace.

        Who wants Alonsos GP2 engine quotes on your home race?

      4. Honda have shown that a works engine partnership is not a guarantee that you will win anything

      5. Alonso is overrated, considering his sallery.

      6. I’m sorry, but how can you present all of these things as “100%”, “mark my words”, “don’t win a race until 2021” as facts when nobody except maybe the highest level figures involved know what’s going to happen?

        It’s just pure speculation and not a very good one either. You state it as a fact that being a customer team is far worse and won’t win you any titles. Have you lived under a rock your whole life? From 1980 all the way up until 2013 there were just 7 years in which a full manufacturer team has won the championship. That was Ferrari from 2000 to 2004 and Renault in 2006 and 2006. All other years were won by customer engines. Granted, some were tight partnerships like McLaren and Mercedes, but the fact that the last three years (and this year) Mercedes has dominated says nothing at all about the future.

        Better yet, IF you want to start speculating, you can easily see that manufacturers are losing interest in F1. There have been some manufacturers entering F1 either with a complete team (Toyota) or the ambition to work their way up to one (BMW) but eventually they all moved out of the sport within a decade or so. Mercedes and Renault are the only ones that have come back. Porsche has shown interest, but only as an engine manufacturer. If you look at Formula E, now there’s been a surge of interest of manufacturers. Loads of them will either enter FE in the coming years or have already done so:
        2014-2015: Renault, Audi
        2015-2016: Renault, Audi, DS
        2016-2017: Renault, Audi, DS, Venturi, Faraday Future, Jaguar
        Future manufacturers that have committed to Formula E: Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche.
        Even if you don’t count both electric-only manufacturers, that’s a whopping 7 manufacturers that’ll be competing in 3 years time. Compare that to the 3 there are in F1 and you understand the current situation.

        So, returning to my own speculation: I see F1 becoming more and more a racing team + engine manufacturer championship. There’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion, as long as the FIA is keeping this possible financially. In other words: F1 needs to become an investment of sorts, not just a huge black hole in which companies dump their marketing budget. To me, the recent changes to the F1 and F2 link-up have worsened the situation and it wouldn’t surprise me if in 10-15 years time F1 is not the pinnacle of non-US motorsport anymore. I hope that will not be the case as I love F1, but F1 needs a reality check. People seem to live in a Carey/Brawn bubble, but apart from some media changes they’ve done nothing but keeping F1 an even more closed competition for the elite.

        1. I envision FA staying at Mac for 2018 then weighing his options for 2019. I think Mac had to move away from Honda…there was no longer anything Honda could say that would assure Mac that next year would be better. Mac has bought themselves some time to sort out something better for the next format of PU ‘s in 2020 or 21. If Brawn has his way the racing will get closer so even a Mac with a customer Renault could be exciting to watch.

        2. @addvariety

          Visit me during a GP or PM me. I’ll tell you my sources. I’m not allowed to advertise in the comments.

            1. @robbie

              I’m dead serious.

              Just look at the nonsense of that post, I want to know who those sources are that tell him that since Mika (17 years ago!) and excluding Brawn, every WCC was not a manufacturer team? (Even Horner said it himself).

            2. @xiasitlo “It goes against all logic to sign with Renault.” I guess your logic has abandoned you.

              And those sources you speak of are the hard facts. You can just check it yourself wherever you want, you don’t need sources/insiders to tell you that. And looking at your previous posts, I’d start looking for new sources since yours aren’t very good ones.

              Both Red Bull and McLaren are teams that won championships with customer engines (Renault and Mercedes respectively) in the most recent years. Before that was a period that Ferrari and Renault (both manufacturers) won, but like I said: before 2000 most were customer teams, Williams with Renault, McLaren with Mercedes and Honda and TAG (Porsche), Benetton with Renault and Ford, etc. Granted, the McLaren-Mercedes partnership was practically a manufacturer, I’ll give you that, but you simply cannot argue the rest.

              Finally, looking at your original comment, I now see that it might indeed be that Honda’ll buy Toro Rosso. Lending Sainz to Renault is (I think) not so much about keeping him happy and compensating Renault, but preventing him from getting connected to Honda and possibly signing with them for 2019. Since it’s very realistic that at least one of the current RB drivers leaves in 2019, Sainz’ll probably fill that seat.

        3. @addvariety

          Nope. My logic is still here: I never said they would not sign. I just knew there was not full agreement in the paddock. And those sources very well made clear Honda was not just giving up. The stilly have more knowledge then me and you. PS: I’m still waiting for that personal message. End of discussion on this topic.

      7. I think McLaren moving to Renault engines makes every sense. They should be more competitive with a Renault engine and they can keep Alonso satisfied even if it does not work out. They can say to him they did everything possible. Look at the alternative option. Spending another season with the Honda engine. But what happens if it is still as bad. Even if Alonso stayed one more year he would then leave at the end of 2018.

        The Honda engine might come good next year but is it really going to catch up with Merc or Ferrari? Highly unlikely. The Renault engine is more likely to improve relative to the others.

      8. Its very logical, thanks for your rant. Mclaren might have already decided to make their own engine for next gen or stick with renault, whatever proves better in next year or so.

    5. Interesting article about the halo. Last week several people criticised FI because they raised the issue but it seems that there are several teams getting more an more frustrated.

      Time to throw it out completely for 2017 if the FIA can’t get its act together, otherwise the big teams will get yet another benefit because they have the ability to modify their designs much later than the smaller ones.

      On the subject of the rumour mill (which is starting to get tiresome), I heard from a bloke, that was down the pub the other night speaking to the Spanish barman who’s cousin heard from a girl that knew a F1 fan, that Nando and Flavour have bought Mclaren AND Mercedes AND Renault so they have more engine options and have been actively chasing Nelson Piquet Jr as the no 2 driver because Flav didn’t think they could rely on Sainz. Flav is getting rid of Eric from Mclaren and swapping him over to Renault and Vandoorne will join Hulk at Renault. Then to give themselves a chance, they’re sticking the Merc PU in the Mclaren and getting rid of Hamilton and Bottas and hiring Sainz and Kubica to drive for Merc.

      1. Are you sure? I heard they’d signed Kim Jong Un.

        1. Nah.. McLaren was looking to sign him if they stay with Honda and Nando leaves. He’s used to things blowing up lol

    6. Good Luck Mclaren on a customer Renault engine and bitched slapped by RBR every race. They couldn’t beat RBR on a Mclaren-Mercedes before, how do they expect to beat them on the same engine.

      Atleast with Honda, all they need to do is blame the engine, so if the are still finishing 5 or 6 next year, who will they blame now? Renault?

      They biggest karma would be if Honda get it right next year and Torro-rosso would have a decent aero and chassis.

      1. Ugh, why do people keep comparing the 2014 McLaren to their current cars. It’s not as if they could have improved since then right?

      2. 5-6 in 2018? let’s see, 1-2 Merc/Ferrari, 3 RBR, 4-6 FI/Williams/Renault… in reality they will be fighting for 13th place.

    7. Mclaren should have used Honda money to develop their own engine. That way the process would have been fully integrated and Mclaren would for the first time have ultimate control over their entire car. The business case is also more viable due to them being a car manufacturer.

      1. McLaren would probably be able to build a engine for 2021, not before that. So why keep finishing 6-9th in the constructor’s in that time.

      2. Im pretty sure the Honda money comes with the Honda engine.

    8. IMO Mclaren should continue their partnership with Honda for next year, i.e., they should give Honda one last chance to get things right and if not then ditch them after next season. Should they switch to Renault power, they’d become a 100% customer team again, which would lessen their chances of winning the championships as it’s difficult to achieve these days without a full works backing from the PU supplier as they have now by being Honda’s ‘de facto factory team.’

      1. Sounds like that ship has sailed. Since the benchmark is Ferrari and Mercedes, I’ll assume that Mac has decided there is little chance Honda is going to up it’s game to the benchmark any more than Renault will, and at least Renault has more solid stats to go by. Mac has a chance to be more competitive now. The racing may get closer too, with cars less negatively affected in dirty air as each season goes by under Brawn. I think the bottom line for Mac is that they will need a better deal for when the next PU format happens, and in the meantime they’ll expect to be no less competitive than they have projected would happen with Honda, and based on Honda’s performance, even more so from what they can go by today.

    9. Do not see ALO going to Williams anymore if McLaren dumps Honda this year.

    10. Assuming the deal is done and McLaren are parting company with Honda (with Honda now joining Toro Rosso)…

      It’s possibly the best option available for both teams (and ultimately the senior Red Bull team). During RBR’s 2016 season where they suffered with horrendous reliability issues with the Renault PU, a rumour surfaced that RBR had their secret Building 9 test facility (virtual test track), which allowed for a PU to be bolted onto the race chassis. Having TR running the Honda PU (which now has Iilien support, some RBR are no stranger to work with) throughout the remainder of this season in order to work out the major issues and next season to test the latest iteration of the Honda PU. This really could be the RBR PU dream, a works PU, designed and tested for their own chassis.

      The senior team then have access to something that should be a decent PU in 2019

    11. Has there ever been an open wheeler car as ugly as the current Indy cars? My gosh they are an eyesore!

      1. @homerlovesbeer i don’t think they look too bad to be honest.

        besides there fast, race well and produce some great racing and end of the day that is more important than looks.

    12. The thing I was told regarding Kubica & Renault is that while his single lap pace was OK there were several issues that popped up on the longer runs that put Renault off going any further with him.

      Robert is very well liked in that team & despite what was said publicly I know for a fact (Having had more than 1 person tell me) that the test’s he’s done with them the past few months was 100% evaluating the possibility of him making an F1 race comeback with Renault alongside Hulkenberg & that the fact there backing away from that now isn’t positive news for those that want Robert back in F1.

    13. On budget caps:

      I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Caps won’t matter. You need prize money/revenue equity like the American NFL model. Distribute prize money equally to start with, narrow the bonus payout gap between the championship winners and losers. Then let the teams decide how much of the F1 revenue + sponsorship revenue + owners’ wealth they want to plow into the teams. Much easier to control and enforce. Good luck trying to enforce a “cost cap” w/ all the creative accounting out there.

    14. Well not wanting to be a killjoy….but in the event of a Honda divorce…McLaren who are not exactly overrun with lucrative sponsors….How will they be able to fund Alonsos salary and to buy the Renault engines???
      that is why I am not sure this split will take place

      1. Alonso will be taking a pay cut. Read this in multiple sources. Money for engines will be there, Mclaren is not that poor.

    15. McLaren


      Like with new title sponsors?

    16. So Red Bull use Toro Rosso as a further season long experiment for Honda to get their engine up to speed until 2019 when they switch RBR to Honda and sweep the deck !
      Put your no ey on Daniel for world champ .

    17. I firmly believe that this is a HUGE mistake. McLaren is back to square 1 and with no further options for 2021 onward. What are they going to do?. Zak Brown is not Ron Dennis, he is a marketing guy, he doesn’t bleed McLaren and the only thing he wants is to show that they’re not at the bottom of the table. Us, the long time Macca fans, should be now proud of things like “huge achievement we’re 5th in the constructors championship, we’re not last!!!”?. They are resigning to be champions, they are giving Red Bull options in a silver tray. Of course these are the thoughts of an old grumpy guy living thousand kms away from the offices where this is being negotiated but if the McLaren Renault fails, If Toro Rosso performs better than they, if all this drama just to please Alonso ends with him leaving the team at the end of the next season I don’t expect nothing less than the immediate resignation of Brown a Boullier. Somewhere I read “there are a lot of drivers in the market who can retire the car early for less money” and I’m sure they are right. I respect Alonso, I’m not his fan I’m a fan of the team and I support he drivers who drives for the team but.. In the words of Han Solo ” I have a bad feeling about this” (I also had that feeling in 2006 when they signed Alonso, sorry but I wasn’t wrong) In my country we use to say when others succeed in a task you’ve failed using all your previous work that you ate the green and the other ate the ripe. Will be this the case?

      1. “Brown AND Boullier”

      2. If Ferrari still didn’t catch Mercedes with 2 years of steady progress, you believe Honda will?

        Mclaren can’t wait until 2021, another THREE WHOLE SEASONS to see IF Honda will find their feet.

        They will suffer without the budget and free engines from Honda, but i can’t understand why someone think this is a mistake. These 3 years were some of the worst ever for Mclaren and Honda didn’t show any signs of progress. Everybody is tired and frustrated. With Alonso out they wouldn’t find nobody as good to take the seat and make things look better than they actually are.

        The car is good and Alonso’s lap on Spain is the proof of that. With a decent powertrain they can be in the top 10 easily.

        1. indeed were the worst. I went trough the whole Peugeot fiasco but at least those engines finished races and eventually Mika made a podium or two. And the mid 90’s… 3 Years without a win until Coulthard won in Australia. I remember waking up so early on sundays (south american old man complaining), just to see the cars getting 5th or worst in the race.

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