Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monza, 2017

Alonso will stay at McLaren-Renault, says Ecclestone

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says Fernando Alonso will remain at McLaren next year after they switch to using Renault engines.

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Ferrari are expected to be ahead in Singapore but who will hold the upper hand at the remaining tracks?

It’s such a strange one to predict. Mexico, USA, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi you’d expect Mercedes to have the advantage but the same was said about Spa and I think Ferrari had the stronger race car there. It was also closer than I expected in qualifying with Bottas being out-qualified. The potentially hotter conditions at those tracks could help Ferrari more too.

I’d expect Mercedes to struggle in Singapore and Brazil but who knows. I had Spa down as a really strong Mercedes circuit but seeing how Ferrari performed there was a bit of a shock. A lot are downplaying Ferraris’ chances after Monza but that would be like downplaying Mercedes after Hungry. it’s still too early to tell and that’s what I love about this season.

We’re also in the perfect time for grid drops and failures which could cause a huge swing either way. This feels like the first season I’m genuinely excited about in years.

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On this day in F1

  • Senna won at Monza today in 1992 with Osella and Fondmetal started their last races

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  • 76 comments on “Alonso will stay at McLaren-Renault, says Ecclestone”

    1. Why do news outlets still talk to Bernie? Nobody listened to what he had to stay before he sold F1, and definitely no one cares now.

      1. Well, it is the daily mail, so there is the answer. In my opinion having a link to the daily mail drastically lowers the quality of the round up. Sorry to say it, however it really does

      2. People DO listen to Bernie, none more than Lewis in 2012. Bernie advised Lewis to join Mercedes AFTER Red Bull said no.

        1. Pfffft Good story

          1. It’s true. Lewis also wanted Mercedes to hire Bernie has his race engineer, just so he could have him whispering in his ear during races, but someone said it would be a conflict of interest.
            In fact, Bernie in charge of F1 = Lewis on top. Bernie on his way out/out for good = Lewis loses or struggles. Coincidence?

            1. I assume you do realise coincidences and confirmation bias are 2 different things?

              (that and you’re telling me Bernie wasn’t in charge in 2007, 2009-2013?

              plus Lewis wasn’t exactly dominating between Mark Webber’s retirement and FOM’s changing hands)

    2. Exciting things are happening then! If Porsche purchases Red Bull then I wonder where that leaves Toro Rosso. Possibly they could become a Porsche B-team under a different VW brand, or I wonder if Alfa Romeo may finally take the plunge.

      A three year contract would allow, as I have said before, McLaren to use BMW engines from 2021 (if BMW become interested in the regulations), which would make sense as they are already developing engine technology for McLaren Automotive, jointly with Ricardo, which is due to appear in their road cars from 2020. Alternatively, if Honda stay in F1 beyond 2020, McLaren could switch back and give it another try (although I imagine that would depend on their performance with Toro Rosso).

      1. One of the comments in the Porsche article mention that perhaps Honda would buy Toro Rosso if Redbull end its program and is bought by Porsce. If they do come good with their engine, I see no reason why Honda wouldnt want to stay, become their own team, and have the chance of generating positive press for a change. Of course this is all fairly far fetched at the moment.

        1. @sprint9, the article is certainly speculative given that it’s talking about events that might happen over three years from now – how many rumours from 2014 have proven to be true by now?

          The other point – about Honda buying Toro Rosso – strikes me as odd given that there really isn’t that much of value worth buying at Toro Rosso. Most of their production facilities, as I understand it, are based at the main Red Bull factory (Red Bull having closed down most of the facilities that Minardi had), so it would require a lot of investment to build their facilities back up.

          There’s also the issue that about a third of their workforce is based in the UK at Red Bull Technologies (the design office that is separate to the teams themselves). It means that, if you wanted to maintain the current design team at Toro Rosso, you would need a separate agreement with Red Bull Technologies to split those designers out of that office, otherwise, you’d have a team without any designers.

          1. “… otherwise, you’d have a team without any designers.”

            Perfect. Then they could blame the chassis. ;-)

          2. Very true, Toro Rosso leans on the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes, the town well known for also hosting the Honda F1 operations…
            I bet they can work something out there.

          3. STR have their own facilities.. and they have Key.

            A reason to buy a team right now could be the expected change in money distribution. Current lower performing teams are expected to gain from that thus increasing in worth.

            I doubt that perceived increase would mean much against the vast amounts Honda spends/spent.. but still.

        2. @sprint9

          become their own team

          And then abandon the team at the end of the season leaving a privateer skeleton team ready to win the WDC and WCC the following season?

      2. I wonder if Alfa Romeo may finally take the plunge.

        That’s up to Fiat/Ferrari, Alfa have not really been in the supercar market but they where have rich and successful history in sports car racing and F1. As a long time Alfa owner I would not like to see them come back as a junior player to Ferrari. If Alfa did come back They would have to use an Italian engine either their own or a Ferrari. If they used a Ferrari which is more likely they would be a junior/customer team, Nah forget that.

      3. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        13th September 2017, 5:15

        I’d like to point out the Alfa-Maserati spin-off rumours once again. At this point in time, with FCA struggling in an industry moving towards a tipping point, investing in a second motorsports brand will not be financially viable. Ferrari, Ram and Jeep are the only marques which are doing well (note that Ferrari is a separate legal entity with a caveat that it has FCA board members), while Fiat and Dodge are barely keeping their heads above the water. I believe that their priority is survival, and not brand reinforcement.

        1. The fact that there are common board members between FCA and Ferrari does not create mutual or aligned interests. In fact, it is a reflection of weak corporate governance, and board members considering the interests of Ferrari when making a decision about FCA, and vice versa, would be a severe violation of fiduciary responsibilities.

    3. I don’t understand how Renault getting Toro Rosso’s best driver is a “sweetener”, unless Renault (or McLaren) are paying quite a sum of money for him, in which case it’s more the money that is a “sweetener”.

      McLaren and Honda must be paying a lot for this engine deal though. If Red Bull have their eyes set on Porsche (or if Porsche have their eyes set on Red Bull), then there’s nothing in this deal to benefit them other than money.

      I’m yet to understand where the rumours that Sainz will switch in Malaysia have come from. Because if it’s just from that misunderstanding from that interview, that’s not enough

      1. It’s a sweetener for Renault – because cancelling the STR contract early would normally mean having to pay Renault for early termination @strontium. Nobody cares for STR and how well they are doing or how much they are liking the deal (not too much, I’d guess myself). Red Bull like seeing the team costing less money (because presumably Honda is paying for the engines and then some while Red bull had to pay for Renault engines before), and the option of taking over the Honda supply if things go well from 2019 onward.

        After 2021 things will be different anyway. They keep seeing the option of VW/Porsche buying their team, they have to option of their cooperation with Aston Martin – if it builds an engine for that new formula, they might stick with Honda, if that is a good deal, or they could sell to another highest bidder.

        As far as I get it, there IS one solid source for that rumour about Sainz, but only that single source. And it’s not from an interview with the driver.

      2. I don’t get it either from a Renault nor a McLaren standpoint…

        Renault will be thrown under the bus by McLaren (and Alonso) at every track they do poor. I mean, if they thought RedBull were bad…. Sainz is good but they could but thats a lot of trouble for that upgraden, and with a risk of terrible PROOST. They could have just signed a driver themselves as almost every candidate is an upgrade over Palmer).

        For McLaren it makes no sense because they will lose $100 sponsor money from Honda ánd pay roughly $25m for the Renault engine just to be a able to keep paying Alonso $30m a year… I mean, what?! On top of that they’re right back where they started, being just a works team.

        The only party it really makes sense for is RedBull imho. They get $100m more sponsor money and test Honda Honda with their B team. If Honda comes good, RedBull will become the works team and if they don’t they stay put til 2020, having the same material as McLaren and get on with their original plan of getting an independent from 2021 onwards. No risk, lots of potential and lots of money to do it… and it only costs them Sainz.

        1. Sainz has been whinging most the season about wanting a promotion to the senior team, so lending him out to a works team would possibly calm him down, whilst he still is on the Red Bull books and gives them a return call if he does start doing miracles in the Renault. Red Bull also get the opportunity to see if Gasly has the F1 ability and allow for some movement in their junior program and amazingly it looks like Kvyat will get another F1 season to try and prove himself…

          Honda will now be getting their Factory 9 passes too I guess…

        2. @jeffreyj

          Renault will be thrown under the bus by McLaren (and Alonso) at every track they do poor

          Don’t think McLaren will really get that excuse

          1. Especially if they finish behind Renault and RBR

        3. McLaren need to start earning money and getting sponsers. They’ve earnt 75million less than Red Bull this year. The people bringing up Alonso’s salary in a derogatory way, need to realise Alonso potentially earns that money back with higher than expected placings. McLaren’s payments from FOM were up 18% this year based on performances last year. So I guess McLaren think he’s worth it. Another driver on his level will be the same salary.
          If you’re complaining about Alonso’s salary then try and find the next Verstappen and pay him 1 million a year on a 3 year contract.

    4. Porsche buying RB or STR is their only chance of success in f1, they’ve tried many times but I don’t think that even in today’s guise, Money Porsche, can’t buy success, many manufacturers came to f1 only to fail. VW making their only engines can only happen if the formula is significantly balanced towards chassis.

    5. Silly season seems to be peaking.

    6. Still no official confirmation. So let’s bring in some more facts until this thing and people unfairly – without facts – fuming at Honda stops either way;
      Winning constructors;
      ’17 (don’t argue, Kimi won’t turn into Vettel 2012), ’16 – Mercedes
      ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13 – Red Bull Renault (Horner: ”We are the Renault works team”, don’t argue with what he said.)
      ’09 – Brawn (Honda-concept car, all the aero that helped Brawn in the non-turbo era was Honda-designed to work with their PU. But sure.)
      ’08, ’07 – Ferrari
      ’06, ’05 – Renault
      ’04, ’03, ’02, ’01, ’00, ’99 – Ferrari
      ’98 Mika’s McLaren-Mercedes – This one then…? Even if. Fact: Life is not like ’98.
      So even if you count the drivers titles from ’08 & ’09 you get a… 16% chance of this McRenault to become great.

      The McLaren brand doesn’t care about midfield. (Even fraud doesn’t tarnish your brand. VW even overtook(!) Totota last year & McLaren doubled car sales last year) Renault won’t make them better then that until 2021. Engine & MGU-K/H season limit? 3 or lower next year = even more reliability for FI, Willams and Merc = very small podium chances.
      McLaren forced Honda into the size-zero concept for ’15 = token system = ’16 was wasted = so new concept ’17, not 3 year the same thing. Fact:Honda has made accumulated more points in their first two years of their comeback then Renault’s works team (even with only one developing team) 106 vs ~48 (projecting their standings from Britain), so they’ve had a better development trend even with all those DNFs.

      1. And you were talking about “bringing in more facts” @xiastilo? Sure, listing who became the constructor’s champion. But your conclusions don’t really take reality in account after that

      2. @xiasitlo, you seem like a fairly knowledgeable guy about F1.
        But please stop with the bold, italics, and claiming that ‘only you talk facts’.
        When I read your comments I always have the impression that you are writing them whilst shouting at the screen. Maybe, this caused you to stop hearing the arguments of others, or the bold has blinded you for the facts that don’t support your opinion.

        Your facts that McLaren-Honda had a better come-back than Renault are as flawed as can be.
        1) Even after 2.7 years McLaren-Honda has less point (cumulative) than in the year before the take over. Renault has still 1 year to go, but at the current rate they will easily beat (again cumulatively) Lotus-Mercedes of 2015.
        2) And just look at this year’s standing! Is 3rd-year McLaren-Honda above or below 2nd-year Renault?

        1. But please stop with the bold, italics,


          (irrelevant, I know – not entirely sure what to think about McLaren to Renault myself anyway)

      3. That’s one of the most ill-informed misuses of probability I’ve ever seen. How about bringing in some facts which bear some connection to the point you’re trying to make?

    7. Another Alonso mind melt…..
      Things are pretty bad when getting the second worst current is considered good news. Fernando had his chance to go become a star to a whole new generation of fans but stupidly decides to go Renault. Desperate move and will yield little. Renault isnt going to challenge Ferrari or Mercedes for wins, not soon anyway probably never. I think its a mess and is being out done by the Toro Rosso decision to use the Honda next year. What in the Hell are they thinking ???

      1. McLaren are trying to enter Indycar for 2019 – Alonso will hopefully had some fun midfield battles in F1 next year before moving on with McLaren.

        1. @petebaldwin ‘fun midfield battles’ in my opinion should be in fact frustrating struggle to get 1 or 2 points. Alonso will still be miserable. I will be wondering what is he doing there, shouting all those complaints on the radio. Most Indi teams would have him.

          1. Renault havn’t promised Alonso ‘the glory days’ like Honda did. He was a fool for looking at those old Malboro McLarens with rose tinted glasses. A Honda that dominated the Judds and Ford lol in the 80s. Times have changed, they pulled the wool over his eyes.

    8. Good luck to Mclaren in beating RBR on the same engine, as I remember they are nowhere in beating RBR with a Mercedes engine with Lewis on-board, only occasionally winning but not really a challenge for RBR. The only real challenger was Ferrari-Alonso team up.

      The only reason why Torro-rosso agree to this is RBR looking at the Honda engine to maybe use in 2019 if they can sort it out next year. The Porche tie up is possible but it is still far away, 2021 is the latest and they want an alternative to Renault. Mercedes and Ferrari won’t provide them with engines so Honda is a possible alternative if not a solution.

      With Mario Illien on board Honda, they will have better chance is sorting out the engine next year, and if Honda did well next year, that will be a big F-U to Mclaren and Alonso.

      I am a long time fan of Alonso but his recent attitude is unacceptable, Honda pays a huge part of his salary, the least that he could do is shut the F up and don’t humiliate his employers in public and talk behind the scenes.

      1. @Cris Only reason why Alonso was able to challenge RBR was due his No1 status, nothing else. Massa had to move over when ever needed, if Alonso had to race Massa to like Hamilton had to race his teammate then Alonso would not even in the to three.

        1. @noname

          Simply not true. In the first race Massa took points off Alonso, Felipe finished 3rd with Alonso behind in 4th he lost the Championship by 4 points. Alonso had to establish himself against Massa for the first half of 2010 a time when McLaren earnt 3 x 1-2 finishes.

    9. What do I read into this?

      1- McLaren , switching to Renault, loses all possible excuses if they fail next year. They have a benchmark on Red Bull to beat. I remember Dennis wanting to bring the VW WRC Championship winning Team manager to McLaren, probably to correct some structural problems in McLaren. Dennis saw something internally that was not working. My guess is that the McLaren- Honda disaster was far from being only a Honda problem. Hopefully I’m proven wrong and it was all Honda’s problem. We’ll see next year how “excellent” the McLaren chassis and overall car is.

      2- Honda lost “face”. This is the single, most important and humiliating issue towards the whole Honda company. Heads will roll, but I bet Honda will invest much, much more to clear this image. I will go as far as to guess Honda will buy Toro Rosso, making a full works team. They will invest as much, if not more than Red Bull, Mercedes and the others.

      3- Sainz in Renault with Hulkenberg as teammate will make for a very interesting pairing. Probably as solid as Perez and Hulkenberg back at Force India. Renault will get solid, constant points finishes. is Sainz a potential race winner? I don’t know, but he seems much, much matured from his early, lower formula days. looks much more consistent. He’s fairly emotional and can have a tendency to overdrive a car, but if he controls his emotions, much like Grojean, he has potential.

      4- I sense McLaren will really go for their own Engine development in 2021. As for Porsche, it all goes down to how the current car industry develops. Tesla created an unprecedented momentum on Electric cars. They are the trendy, cool new thing and as the infrastructure grows, there’s a big possibility manufacturers start looking at Formula 1 as an obsolete show, favouring the likes of Formula E. This is probably the greatest “danger” to Formula 1 as we know it, in my view. I don’t sense the concept of Formula 1 , or the pinnacle of open wheel Motorsport to end, or their teams just, if things continue this way, they will end up either merging, or transferring to the Formula E championship.

      Things are changing very, very fast in the automotive world. Formula 1 ( and its whole ladder and support races) needs to really look carefully what it does in the next few years and the direction it takes. If Formula E does a jump in performance and autonomy of their cars to full race length, and allows even more innovation and performance by teams and manufacturers, while maintaining such a quality field of racers that include Former Formula 1 drivers, and new talent , some- like Rosenqvist, Da Costa, etc- who are proven category winners who didn’t have a chance in Formula 1, there’s a very big chance it surpasses, at least in the eyes of the spectator and consumer, the notion of it being the true pinnacle of motorsport.

      1. Steven Van Langendonck
        13th September 2017, 6:43

        Well said.
        One more thing about Honda & McLaren: they both needed the wake-up call. I am pretty sure that call has been received by Honda. Even before the split their presence in the press was bigger and moch more serious. As for McLaren? I don’t know. The fact that they seem pretty convinced their chassis is as good as RBR is not a good sign.
        So they will indeed need to prove that what they produce for next year is better than RBR … and don’t forget Renault.

      2. Very well said. All, of which begs the question: ” why does the Formula One Group have an enterprise value of $18 billion?”

        1. How is that related in any way?

          Besides, the real question is how the person, who gave away the commercial rights of this $18 billion company for a 100 year period for “pocket change” like $300 million, is not in jail?

          In effect Ecclestone paid 3 million per year for a company that nets around a billion dollars a year. Of which he was allowed to keep half and has to give only half back to the teams.

    10. Even Though Honda was pathetic and no competitive team will want their engines(This era :p), I cannot help but feel that this is bad for the sport as a whole. F1 is again down to only 3 engine manufacturers. With such a brilliant historical relationship, it is sad to see that McHonda didnt work out.

      1. Sorry my bad. Honda will stay around for torro rosso. But still losing the McHonda partnership is a real blow.

      2. I agree that this isn’t in the best interests of F1. Part of the blame has to lie with F1 and their Token system, which was simply a way of impeding performance impaired engine manufacturers from improving their engine. It seems to me this year is really the first year Honda have had the freedom to improve their engine unfettered.
        Any team that wants to enter the top league of any sport knows they cannot expect to be in the finals that year, nor the next, nor even the third year. No doubt some do, but that should have surprised them as much as everyone else because one shouldn’t expect that to happen. To do so assumes those already in that top league aren’t performing at their very best, which is untrue. To get to the finals needs a degree of excellence that is above average, and teams that enter the top level league usually don’t have that degree of excellence. In the same way McLaren shouldn’t have expected Honda to be producing a podium competing engine for a few more years because the level of excellence required to produce a podium competing engine is very high in F1.
        As an example, Mercedes didn’t just suddenly appear at the top of the Constructors Championship in 2014, they were second from the top in 2013, third from the top in 2012, and fourth from the top in 2011 and 2010, so it took them 4 years to get to their performance good enough so they could outperform the other top teams when the engine spec changed in 2014.
        While the performance of the McLaren-Honda cars in the last 2 and a half years has been worse than that of the Mercedes car in the years from 2010 through to 2013, Mercedes didn’t have the Token System impeding them. Also, they had been manufacturing engines for McLaren for a long time, whereas Honda took a furlough from F1.
        I don’t think Honda is where I think they should be in terms of performance, maybe they should be a bit higher up the Constructors’ Championship table (currently they are 9th), but they shouldn’t be close to the top of the table unless the top teams weren’t doing their job.
        This isn’t an ideal outcome. It says a manufacturer should be producing podiums within two and a half years of entering F1. If that did happen then one would have to suspect F1 wasn’t at the premier level of motor racing. On the other hand, if it doesn’t happen, then surely that means F1 is at the premier level of motor racing, that the existing engine manufacturers are the best in the world, and that new comers have to improve their “game” to compete with the best.
        I really hope that Honda aren’t discouraged, but keep improving their engines and their level of excellence. This is the only way to get to the very top.

        1. @drycrust Honda have been able to redesign their engine from the start. They started out completely wrong. Had one year with complete freedom again since they just racked up the penalties anyway, but it didn’t work out. Then this season another complete reboot and again they failed.

          The token system is in no way to blame for their mess.

          McLaren is though. Their car was bad and a lot of the technical issues were their fault. Especially the first year, the car failed so many times that Honda wasn’t able to get any mileage on their engine.

          Mercedes wasn’t held back by the token system between 2010 and 2013? The rules on engine changes were even stricter back then. There were 0 tokens. No changes allowed for performance gain at all! They finally replaced their slowest driver with a top driver which helped a lot. If only in the sense that they could use all of their funds to actually develop the car performance rather than pacify an aging old WDC. They also hired Paddy Lowe to finally fix organizational mess the development team was in under Brawn.

          McLaren could make the same performance gains on their chassis and organization, but they just don’t. Their car is just as bad if not worse than it was when they were failing all of 2014 with that all powerful Mercedes engine in the back. Their reliability is still poor too (and that’s far from only the engine)

    11. Hm, how often have we heard about Porsche (or Audi etc) coming in to buy Red Bull in the last decade? Sure, Bernie is no longer there as an obstacle to the deal, but I won’t believe it until it happens

      1. Personally, I don’t see why Porsche would want to enter the sport as a constructor straight away. It’s way too high risk even if you’re acquiring a successful team such as Red Bull. It would be better to enter as an engine supplier and get up to speed with the sport’s intricacies before making a decision to become a full constructor.

        I would think that there is some truth to the rumours, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Red Bull Porsche in 2021… but a complete Porsche outfit probably around 2024-2025, just after Red Bull won another WDC/WCC before selling out at a premium.

      2. @bascb, there have certainly been more than a few times when people speculated that VW would buy Red Bull – the start of the current engine rules saw similar speculation, and we’ve seen where that has lead. Furthermore, given that Porsche was stoking speculation that they were going to enter under the current engine regulations when they were announced, you can understand why there will be those who are sceptical of the claim that Porsche will be joining in 2021.

    12. Now all that is needed is a competitive Renault engine and we are good. F1 and F1 fanatics Need this man and Mclaren to be fighting at the front with Mercs and Ferraris. Great Luck this time Alonso.
      A prayer also for Honda to get it right and not quit.

    13. I’m surprised by all the people who think the Mclaren-Renault deal is about keeping Alonso.

      Mclaren are just trying to see out the next three years without ruining their reputation further and damaging their financial position. It’s not about winning championships at this point or even winning races, it’s about rebuilding the brand and winning back some of the sponsorship they’ve lost.

      Zak Brown has talked about wealthy owners seeing them through turbulent times, but these same owners didn’t become billionaires by sitting on their backside’s waiting for things to come good. Honda’s progress has been far too slow and Mclaren (read: shareholders) can’t afford to keep languishing at the back of the grid with little sponsorship and a lower share of the income.

      The only reason Alonso fits into this equation is for marketing purposes. Having a ‘top’ driver who will attract sponsors and sell merchandise is important to Mclaren, but the Renault deal is about far more than that, and I’d bet my mortgage that they’d give him up in a heartbeat if an exchange for Mercedes engines was on the table.

      1. Exactly, this is the reason for the McLaren – Renault switch that best fits the story.

        McLaren and the rest of the paddock all have the data that shows McLaren has a competitive chassis, let’s see if they can match RB next season.

        Renault will clearly step on with reliability and performance for 2018 as PU performance starts to converge for the last three seasons of this Formula.

      2. @sparkyamg, what might have also helped tip McLaren into their decision would be the further delays to the major engine update Honda had promised, which was the “Spec 4” update.

        Now, originally that engine was supposed to have been introduced at the Belgian GP ( https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/honda-failed-spec-4-engine-spa-944753/ ), but because Honda were running behind schedule, they could only introduce a partial update (the “Spec 3.5” and “Spec 3.6” engines they introduced that weekend instead).

        There is now talk that, rather than just being delayed for a few races, Honda have delayed the “Spec 4” engine until 2018. Honda had already been late with the development cycle of their engines so far this year – the performance of the “Spec 2” engine, which came in for the Spanish GP in May, was supposedly the first engine that Honda produced which hit the pre-season development objectives (i.e they were meant to have been at that performance level in January with the “Spec 0” conceptual design), whilst the “Spec 3” engine that came in for Baku was meant to have been introduced before the Canadian GP (a smaller delay there, but still a delay).

        As you say, from McLaren’s point of view Honda are – by Honda’s own admission – effectively running around 4-6 months in terms of their development objectives. To me that is pointing towards issues with the senior management at Honda, and that is something which does not seem to be changing drastically in the near future.

      3. @sparkyamg absolutely, I think Alonso is a big positive for them but if they have Renault engines there won’t world championships in the next three years anyway

      4. I think you underestimate Alonso’s value by stating it’s just for marketing purposes.

        Alonso deserves a lions share of the success for the chassis’ success due to his ability to drive the wheels off the car and give valuable feedback to the designers.

        He also brings in points towards the WCC with a crummy car bringing in lots of $ for the team.

    14. @keithcollantine
      One more news scoop about Kubica:

      “We understand he has been released from the short-term contract he has been on with Renault since beginning his comeback programme in May – at his request, in order that he might follow up on interest elsewhere for his services (understood to be Williams and Sauber).”

      1. @damon, That was already in yesterday’s roundup.

        1. Oh, thanks. And sorry for bothering.

          1. Kubica at Williams would be even better than Kubica at Renault, in my opinion. Thanks for the link!

    15. Reading the comments on the McLaren-Honda break-up, I think I have much less belief then the most in Honda’s ability to produce a competitive power unit in a foreseeable future, no matter how much money they throw at this. They may have the financial resources, but they seemed to lack the human resources to keep up with the other manufacturers in this quite demanding and sophisticated power unit formula. After 90’s turbo era, their engines were also not very competitive when the formulas were much more simpler. And for 3 years, we have been witnessing amateurish mistakes and constant underestimations in their R&D efforts. I think this mostly have to do with their company culture, where they refuse to get outside help and expertise, and whereas the other manufacturers benefit from recruiting from other manufacturers and working with 3rd party consultants.

      Saying that, after 3 years of constant misery, McLaren finally changed Honda’s attitude in regard of getting outside help. This year there have been reports that Honda started to work with several consultancy firms, including Mario Illien’s firm Ilmor. Now we know that Ilmor is very capable consultancy firm which no doubt will help Honda’s F1 powerunit project. However what is interesting is, Mario Illien is also close with Red Bull’s Adrian Newey, and I think Red Bull was in a very well position to assess Honda’s F1 prospects without relying on Honda’s reports and promises. I think this is interesting going forwards, and hopefully may be an good indicator of a successful Red Bull-Honda collaboration.

      Amid reports of Red Bull owners trying to sale the team after the Concorde agreement finishes, now Red Bull is a very good position to get an offer from both Honda and Porsche. Great move from RB.

      1. @serkank Right, from the start Honda needed to ditch the misplaced pride and idea of developing in house expertise and head-hunt into key positions from the other three engine suppliers to get their program off the ground.

        I expect that was the major source of frustration to McLaren who could see exactly what needed to be done, and that misalignment of expectation should have been resolved during the original deal with Honda, both parties to blame!

      2. Maybe even both… Poping RBR to Porsche, STR to Honda ….

      3. regards to Ilmor it sort of makes a mockery of the ‘road relevance’ theme and if ‘road relevance’ was that important then the lesser engine makers would share ideas or at least all use the best consultancy firms they can find i.e Renault would also be using Ilmor. This whole engine era was a complete farce.

    16. What’d be the situation again, if next year or on 2019 Honda gets really competitive & Renault falls behind in general? I don’t think anyone imagines Honda not having the capacity at all.

      I’m not saying anything about McLaren’s current decision, but given their recent history…. if that did happen, it’d be fun.

      1. @praxis Unlikely PU performance will converge further next year and for 19/20, Ferrari and Mercedes are already into marginal gains Honda have a lot to do!

    17. So year 2021 we will have teams… Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche(RBR), Honda(SRT), Renault, Alfa-Romeo(Sauber), Haas, Williams, ForceOne(SFI), and McLaren as costumers?

      Sounds all good to me, maybe McLaren could get their own engine aswell?

      There is also room for two more teams, if all those car makers come in, certainly it wont be long before we see BMW, Toyota, Ford moving in for some fun.

      Current F1 tech will save petrol engine from enevitable electric death…

      1. McLaren as “Costumers”? I hadn’t considered that option. Do you think their b*m would look big in it?

      2. Current F1 tech will save petrol engine from enevitable electric death

        I have to say I can’t see that. The way we move around is changing, motor racing will change with it.
        But as long as we have the skill of drivers performing at a level we can only dream about or having ego driven hissy fits and the drama of pit stops it will be fine.

      3. Cosworth may very well be in there as well. Williams or Haas Cosworth?

    18. Well if I was a McLaren shareholder/exec I’d certainly be looking at a McLaren badged engine in 2020, with a simpler V6 twin turbo and MG-K format. Their Ricardo built V8 from the road program started off life as a Nissan Indycar project and is probably too bulky even with 2 cylinders lopped off. There are plenty of good engine builders in the U.K. still, AER comes to mind let alone Cosworth who unfairly get bad press because their product has ended up in the back of sheds, hardly their fault. I would be very surprised if they weren’t already looking at that option. A reunification with Porsche could bring great dividends unless Porsche travel a different path. As a fan of “engines” I’m quite excited at the prospect of more suppliers in F1 come 2020. Of course, it may be the last “hurrah” for all things ICE so it would be fitting if F1 went out with a major suck squeeze bang blow era.

    19. Alonso and McLaren deserve each other at this point.

    20. Yawn – yet another barrage of rehashed rumours. (Not your fault Keith) The silly season in well and truly in full swing.

      I can’t wait for the weekend when there will be actual racing (and quite possibly accurate news and announcements). Hopefully Singapore will be a major clash between the top 3 teams and the midfield runners will be closely matched as well.

      It’ll be a welcome break from story after story regurgitating the same will they/won’t they about Mclaren and Honda.

    21. Good COTD.

    22. Where does the Renault-McLaren-Honda-Torro Rosso-Sainz ‘deal’ leave Kubica’s return for next year?

    23. Oh no! Danica is leaving Stewart/Haas? That should make a tremendous impact! Or none at all.

    24. It would be interesting if Honda blows the doors off (so to speak!) Renault next season. In a perverse way I hope it happens.

    25. F1 teams should have a hacking division where they try to sabotage opponents by switching off their engines and stuff like that.

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