After weeks of speculation, the inevitable happened today. After three years of a largely unfruitful and troubled relationship, McLaren and Honda announced that by mutual consent they were ending their partnership at the end of the 2017 season.
McLaren and Honda end Formula 1 Partnership
McLaren switched to Honda as their engine supplier from the 2015 season and became their works team. There was high hope that the Woking-based team and the Japanese manufacturer could recreate their partnership from 1988-1992 which yielded multiple titles. But Honda’s foray into F1 in the V1.6L Hybrid Engine-era proved to be problematic from the beginning.
The first season in 2015 saw the Honda engines underperforming on both the power and reliability front. As Honda engine after engine went up in smoke, the drivers were perpetually under grid penalties for exceeding their allocation of engines for the season. McLaren ended the season a disappointing ninth amid clear signs that Honda was having trouble mastering the new hybrid engine technology. The next season saw a slight improvement when McLaren finished sixth in the constructors’ championship.
But all hopes that in 2017 Honda would finally deliver an engine on par with the class-leading Mercedes engines has been completely nullified. With the engines having the same recurring reliability and performance issues, McLaren lost all patience and it was time to end the partnership. At the Singapore Grand Prix after the first free practice session today, both sides formally announced the end of the partnership.
Takahiro Hachigo, President of Honda Motors issued a statement that 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.”
McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown also added:”There has never been any doubt over Honda’s commitment and energy to the mission of success in Formula 1.
“They are proven winners and innovators. For a combination of reasons 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.
“As fellow racers, we hope to see the great name of Honda get back to the top – our sport is better for their involvement. I know this view is shared by everyone in the sport.”
This finally closes a sad chapter during which two companies with great reputations have failed to make their collaboration work at huge financial costs to both parties. Honda will continue in the sport as Toro Rosso’s engine supplier and McLaren will switch to Renault as their engine supplier for 2018.
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