It's official. McLaren and Honda have split up, and next season McLaren will be using Renault engines.
McLaren and Honda split
McLaren have been with Honda for three years, in a deal that when it was signed was seen as a winning partnership, over and above the return of Fernando Alons to the team he left in 2007. But the reality is the pairing has been a complete failure, with a terrible first season, a second season where it looked as if progress was being made, before this year saw the McLaren suffer never ending problems of reliability and lack of power. The Honda engine has had less power each season, and breaks far too easily.
McLaren looked at various engine options
Faced with this situation, and the angry frustration of Fernando Alonso, McLaren looked at a number of options. The first was Mercedes, but it was clear the Germans would never give them their best powerplants, as they would be reserved for their own team.
McLaren even talked to Ferrari, though this newspapers sources indicate that the conversations never went beyond a friendly chat. And so soon the clear option for McLaren was Renault. The first contacts were made in the pre-season in Barcelona, when McLaren realised the true state of the Honda engine, and that they were facing a catastrophic season.
Long process to reach an agreement
Since then lawyers, managers and sponsors have all had to reach an agreement to carry out the operation. Which has been made official today, Friday. The deal was made more complex by the involvement of F1 owners Libery, who didn't want to lose Honda. And Red Bull was key, squaring the circle with their second team Toro Rosso agreeing to use Honda engines, an announcement that was also made official today.
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