McLaren announced the conclusion of its partnership with Honda and a 3-year run with Renault.
September 15, 2017 – CNN
McLaren and the Japanese manufacturer joined forces in 2015, renewing a partnership that had yielded four consecutive constructors’ titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the team has struggled to compete with an engine that has lacked power and reliability.
Star driver Fernando Alonso has suffered eight retirements this season to date, and the team currently lies second to last in the 2017 constructors’ championship.
“For a combination of reasons our partnership has not flourished as any of us would have wished,” McLaren’s executive director Zak Brown said in a statement on the McLaren website
“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.”
The announcement of the split with Honda was quickly followed by news that McLaren has signed a three-year engine deal with Renault starting in 2018.
The switch to Renault is likely to ensure that McLaren retain the services of Alonso — the two-time world champion told CNN in July that his decision to stay at the British team will be based on how competitive they are.
“Today’s announcement gives us the stability we need to move ahead with our chassis and technical program for 2018 without any further hesitation,” Brown said in a statement.
“We’re convinced that we can bring real value to Renault Sport Racing as we work alongside it to develop this current power unit into a regular race winner.”
A McLaren driver last took the checkered flag five years ago — Jenson Button winning the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix — and the last of their eight constructors’ titles came back in 1998, powered by a Mercedes’ engine.
The switch to Honda three seasons ago heralded the arrival of Alonso from Ferrari who teamed up with Button under then team boss, Ron Dennis.
On paper, it looked like the perfect combination but it quickly turned into a nightmare on track.
Button and Alonso suffered 13 retirements between them during the 2015 season as McLaren limped to ninth place in the constructors’ title race — the same place they find themselves this season with seven races to run.