McLaren-Honda split moves closer as team eyes Renault for 2018

McLaren is edging closer to a divorce from Honda, ahead of a crunch weekend of talks that will shape the engine market as well as Fernando Alonso's Formula 1 future

McLaren-Honda split moves closer as team eyes Renault for 2018

It is understood McLaren has finally lost patience with Honda's ability to progress in the short term, and detailed analysis of gains Honda made with help from consultant Ilmor has not eased the concerns.

With time running out to finalise 2018 engine plans and amid pressure to ensure Alonso commits to a fresh deal, McLaren's focus is now on doing what is necessary to switch from Honda to Renault power.

AUTOSPORT PODCAST: What now for Alonso?

There remain several hurdles to overcome involving many parties before that switch can happen.

One source suggested it is not a case of whether McLaren splits with Honda, but of how messy the process gets.

The simplest way for McLaren to achieve its aim is to convince Honda to tie up with Toro Rosso for 2018 and beyond.

That would free up Toro Rosso's Renault engine supply for McLaren.

Toro Rosso would get a financial boost from Honda, which would be able to stay in F1.

Talks between Toro Rosso and Honda appeared to have collapsed recently but are back on and now at an advanced stage.

At Spa last weekend Toro Rosso and Honda's denial that there had been any "official talks" was intriguingly dispelled by McLaren, which revealed it had been asked to supply gearboxes for any potential deal.

But sources suggest Honda is not especially eager to make the jump to Toro Rosso and does not want to give up on McLaren.

That means there is a stand-off between McLaren and Honda, with neither party able to move forward at present.

With time pressure mounting, it is understood Toro Rosso has laid down a deadline of Monza this weekend for a 2018 engine decision.

With McLaren believed to be adamant it will not carry on with Honda in 2018, if it cannot transfer its engine supply to Toro Rosso smoothly there is a risk it will have break its current engine contract and face legal complications.

Losing McLaren without an alternative team in place would force Honda out of F1 too, something Liberty Media is not keen on.

Honda's departure would open up a scenario where FIA rules dictate that one of the current engine manufacturers must supply McLaren for 2018.

Renault remains the most likely option in this scenario, and though it is reluctant to expand to a fourth supply the rules could leave it with no choice.

Switching engine supplier is believed to be key to McLaren keeping Alonso.

It is understood he has indicated in private that if McLaren is able to secure Renaults then he will remain on board.

Progress made with the chassis and the new era at the team after Ron Dennis have left Alonso encouraged about McLaren's future.

The Honda engine is the only stumbling block, with Alonso's desire for a Renault switch adding further impetus to McLaren's current mission.

shares
comments
Autosport F1 podcast: Where does Fernando Alonso's future lie?

Previous article

Autosport F1 podcast: Where does Fernando Alonso's future lie?

Next article

Renault F1 team: Jolyon Palmer 'like a different guy' at Belgian GP

Renault F1 team: Jolyon Palmer 'like a different guy' at Belgian GP
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021