McLaren has no 'plan B' if Honda F1 engine partnership fails

McLaren has no 'plan B' if its Formula 1 engine partnership with Honda does not work out in the long term

McLaren has no 'plan B' if Honda F1 engine partnership fails

The team's racing director Eric Boullier says Honda is committed to F1 for "many years" and McLaren will do whatever it takes to make the collaboration succeed rather than casting around for alternatives.

"We have no B plan," Boullier told AUTOSPORT. "It's up to us to make sure we all work together.

"Like in a marriage, sometimes there is some stress, but we follow the same path.

"The belief comes from the fact they've committed to the long term and the facilities they've built are amazing.

"You need to let them have time to settle, get the knowledge, get the experience, get the process in place and when the machine builds it's going to be massive."

The two parties reunited for the 2015 season in the hope of eventually replicating the dominant performances of their 1988-92 collaboration, which began with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost winning 15 of the '88 season's 16 grands prix in their McLaren-Hondas.

Four straight years of F1 title doubles were only halted by Nigel Mansell and Williams-Renault in 1992.

Back then, Honda came to McLaren in the fifth year of an F1 engine programme that it had begun with the small Spirit team in 1983 before subsequent success with Williams and Lotus.

Boullier admitted it was frustrating when memories of McLaren-Honda's previous success skewed expectations of the present partnership, in which Honda is only in its first year back in F1 after a six-season absence and is a year behind its rivals with the hybrid V6 engines.

"If you compare with the 1980s that is wrong for me, because Honda joined McLaren [in 1988] after five years of Formula 1 - and today Honda decided to come back into F1," he said.

"They do it with a lot of commitment, a lot of resources, but they started two years ago and clearly two years is not enough to be competitive in Formula 1."

McLaren remains adamant that it had to find a new factory partner once Mercedes - which had represented on a works basis since 1995 - decided to re-establish its own F1 team for 2010.

"It's always easy to analyse afterwards rather than before," Boullier said.

"We have to stick to a few basic rules - the reason why we moved to Honda was clear.

"When Mercedes decided to run their own team, you know you become a customer.

"And as soon as you become a customer, you know you will never become world champion. That's clear.

"The reason why we moved to Honda is because we had the opportunity to become the Honda factory team.

"Then you can question the timing, the way the wedding worked, but this is a long-term commitment."

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