To call McLaren’s partnership with Honda a ‘train wreck’ would be putting it rather mildly. Two and a half seasons with a persistently troublesome Honda power has seen the McLaren team consistently running nearer the back of the field, failing to score a single podium and clocking up 30 retirements. Oh, and what must - by now - be hundreds of grid penalties.
Proceedings did pick up slightly for the 2016 season, with the team finishing sixth in the constructor’s championship, but with performance and reliability looking even worse in 2017, McLaren has decided to call it quits.
The team announced today that for the 2018 season onwards it will adopt Renault power units, effectively swapping places with Toro Rosso. Yep, that’s right - Toro Rosso has the dubious honour of being the only Honda-powered team on the grid from next year.
McLaren will use Renault power units for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons at least. As part of the complex, multi-party deal, current Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. is being ‘leant’ to Renault for the 2018 season.
Speaking about the changes, Zak Brown had this to say:
“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.”
All that’s left to say is so long, McLaren Honda: we’ll miss the memes…