McLaren and engine supplier Honda will part ways at the end of the 2017 season, the team has confirmed.
McLaren executive director Zak Brown said “there has never been any doubt over Honda’s commitment and energy to the mission of success in Formula One” but “our partnership has not flourished as any of us would have wished.”
“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.”
Honda president Takahiro Hachigo said: “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.”
“Honda will continue the fight together with McLaren all the way to the end of the 2017 season, and then continue its F1 racing activities in 2018 and beyond.”
The Japanese manufacturer returned to Formula One as an engine supplier at the beginning of 2015. However they have failed to achieve success in three seasons with McLaren, prompting speculation the two would split.
McLaren’s reunion with Honda at the end of 2014 re-formed a partnership which had been extremely successful in their five years together between 1988 and 1992. Together they took Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost to a combined four drivers’ championships and won the teams’ title four years running.
After leaving F1 at the end of 1992 Honda returned first as an engine supplier and then a works team between 2006 and 2008. The latter spell yielded a single victory in its first season followed by two very poor seasons. The groundwork for a successful 2009 campaign was laid but Honda weren’t around to realise it: they left F1 at the end of 2008.
Five years later Honda announced it would return to Formula One with McLaren in 2015, the second year of the sport’s new V6 hybrid turbo engine regulations. A frustrating season ended with McLaren ninth out of ten teams, but gains were made in 2016 and they moved up to sixth.
That progress has been spectacularly reversed so far in 2017. During pre-season testing it became clear the team was in serious trouble. Following an early run in the car Alonso told the media “we have no power and we have no reliability”.
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