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The Mclaren-Honda F1 partnership is over

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Honda is set to switch its Formula 1 customer team for next season, announcing a new partnership with Toro Rosso as the McLaren partnership ends.

Poor performance and reliability have plagued McLaren since Honda took over from Mercedes as engine partner for the 2015 season, with McLaren having received 260 grid penalties in 2017 alone.

McLaren is understood to have agreed a three-year deal to run Renault engines, with Toro Rosso using Honda power from 2018 in a ‘multi-year’ deal.

Furthermore, current Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jnr will join the Renault squad ‘on loan’ for next season as part of a complicated deal involving the two teams and engine manufacturers.

In a statement on the Official McLaren website, McLaren Technology Group Executive Director Zak Brown, said: “Today’s announcement gives us the stability we need to move ahead with our chassis and technical programme for 2018 without any further hesitation.

“As an organisation, McLaren has always worked extremely hard to form lasting partnerships with its technical suppliers.

“We’re convinced 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.”

On Thursday, the BBC announced that former world champions Red Bull are set to split with Renault at the end of the 2018 season, meaning a move to Honda to align with junior team Toro Rosso for 2019 is highly likely.

Mirroring McLaren’s partnership with Honda, Red Bull have been highly critical of the Renault power-unit in recent years, which has seen the team drop from world-champions to the third best team over the last four years.

With developments of the 2018 car underway, Toro Rosso technical director James Key has admitted that a change of engine supplier would present challenges, but that these can be overcome.

“It will be a question of adaption of our plans rather than a wholesale change”, says Key, “we are in the process of re-planning our design and production activities with Honda to ensure that we both hit all our important deadlines.”

Meanwhile, Takahiro Hachigo, president of Honda Motor Company, described the McLaren split as “unfortunate”, but was “excited” about the manufacturers future with Toro Rosso.  

“Toro Rosso is an experienced team with a youthful energy and history of nurturing the stars of the future”, said Hachigo.

“Everyone at Hinda is looking forward to working with Toro Rosso, and we are excited to start this new chapter in our Formula 1 journey with them.

“Honda and Toro Rosso will work as one team to strive for progress and a successful future together”

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