After much speculation and three years of poor performances, McLaren have confirmed that they will be splitting from engine manufacturer Honda.
“It’s a step that we needed to take.” said Zak Brown, McLaren’s Executive Director. “This is a team that belongs at the front of Formula 1, and Honda simply weren’t going to get us there.”
It comes as a huge relief to McLaren fans and staff alike following three years that had seen them go backwards down the grid and includes famous outbursts from double World Champion Fernando Alonso, including when he called it a “GP2 engine” during the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix.
The McLaren-Honda partnership had previously powered the team to glory in the 1980’s when they dominated the sport with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. However the decision to return to Honda in 2014 has been a catastrophic failure for the team, and one that has cost Ron Dennis his place atop the team.
“I’m just glad to be rid of them” said Alonso, who criticised the competitiveness of the car following the Australian Grand Prix.
The trouble started during winter testing, when McLaren went through seven power units in the course of eight days as the newly designed Honda engine suffered from unexpected vibrations and was literally shaking itself to death after a few laps.
While they managed to get Stoffel Vandoorne to the finish line in Melbourne he came in dead last, behind the Sauber which was running a 2016 Ferrari engine. Couple that with the awful shuddering sound on gear changes and the decision to pull the trigger on a change, which is expected to take place at the Chinese Grand Prix next weekend.
Coming to McLaren’s rescue are Czech manufacturer Skoda, who in their press release stated, “Our engine is currently just a mouse running in a wheel, but it’s still faster and more reliable than Honda”