McLaren on the brink of divorcing Honda
September 4, 2017 11:35 am
McLAREN are believed to be on the brink of divorcing Honda as their engine partners.
Sky Sports understands an announcement confirming McLaren’s split from Honda may be imminent and could be made as early as this week.
But it remains to be seen whether any announcement will include details about Honda’s replacement.
However, the team have told Skysports.com it is “very likely” Fernando Alonso will remain at McLaren for next season.
Neither Alonso nor Stoffel Vandoorne finished Sunday’s Italian GP with the team describing the result as “gut-wrenchingly disappointing”.
“We need to get more competitive,” McLaren boss Zak Brown said after the race.
“This weekend showed we’re not making any significant progress.”
McLaren held several meetings with Renault during the Italian GP weekend. But the French company, who already supply three teams, are reluctant to take on an additional customer.
A tie-up between Honda and Toro Rosso, who Renault currently supply, would clear that obstacle as well as guarantee Honda remain in F1 beyond this season. But a reputed deadline of Sunday night for an agreement to be reached between Toro Rosso and Honda passed without any official word from either party.
“We don’t have alignment among all the parties,” confirmed Brown.
“We want to make sure everything is handled well with Honda and that they stay in the sport either with us or another team.”
Brown told reporters on Friday that McLaren were yet to reach an agreement with an engine partner for 2018 and were the team to drop Honda without a replacement in place then it would fall on the FIA and the sport’s new bosses at Liberty Media to find a resolution.
A clause was added to the sport’s regulations last year that stipulates that were any team to be left without an engine partner then one of the sport’s remaining power unit manufacturers would have to provide a supply. However, the time frame of mid-summer around that clause has already elapsed.
“The engine manufacturers are not geared up for additional teams at this point,” said Brown. “Everyone is trying to work together and we anticipate some decisions this week. I think once the main domino falls, everything else will fall into place.
“I don’t think that will happen [being left without an engine]. It’s not what we will allow to happen. The regulations are in the middle of the year for a fourth team is to be supplied. We’ve been very close with the FIA and Chase Carey and they’re being very helpful to get through this.”
Brown had earlier told Sky Sports at Monza he regarded the team’s engine dilemma as “one of the biggest decisions McLaren have ever had to make.”
Source: Sky Sports