The ongoing soap opera saga that is the relationship between McLaren and Honda rumbles on.
Over the course of the Italian GP weekend representatives of Renault were seen in the McLaren motorhome along with Ross Brawn on behalf of Liberty Media, F1’s owners. The Woking based side have been looking to manufacturer a divorce from Honda after the Japanese firm’s woeful return to F1 since 2014.
With a return to Mercedes and the possibility of taking on Ferrari power already closed off the only alternative is from Renault if the team is to break away from Honda. The latest meeting seems to indicate that Renault are willing in some way but others state that any engine deal with McLaren could depend on Toro Rosso moving to Honda.
“It is very complicated,” McLaren team boss Zak Brown said. “There are a variety of pieces to the puzzle – some in our control, some not.
“If everything was done we would have a decision and an announcement to make. There are some challenges ahead of us that we need to navigate.”
“It can still go either way. It’s probably one of the biggest decisions McLaren have ever had to make.”
The American later added: “We don’t have an agreement in place with anybody.”
The deal with Honda reportedly is worth £50million a year to McLaren from the Japanese company but the ‘priority’ for 2018 onwards is to be competitive as possible.
“The best thing for McLaren is to make the best sporting decision possible,” said Brown. “We are here to win so we are going to make a sporting decision.
“We can’t afford not to be on the podium. It’s a big decision that has lots of elements to it and economics are one. But fortunately we have extremely committed shareholders which means we can make a sporting decision and deal with the economics.”
The rumours around in recent, and reported by yours truly on LTMSport, has it that Fernando Alonso provided an ultimatum of its either Honda or him but Brown was quick to refute this as well.
“Fernando has not given us any ultimatum, that it’s ‘them or us’, at all. His decision will be based on whether he thinks we will be competitive or not. He’s not been engine-specific in his desires.
“Negotiations are ongoing and they are going very well. But you have to have a Plan B and a Plan C in the event you don’t reach an agreement, and we have those plans.”
Brown also confirmed that junior driver Lando Norris, who had a great run at the in season test in Hungary last month, will not be fast tracked to F1 with the plan for him to do F2 next season.
The story continues apace, will the divorce happen and McLaren leave for a newer, more reliable model or will they patch things up with Honda, even if its just for the drivers!
Photo Credit: sky sports