After what has felt like centuries of poor performance, McLaren is leaving Honda in its rearview mirror. Instead, the team will go after the younger, better performing Renault for next seasons engines.
It seems like an eternity, yet in reality, it has only been 3-years. But in that span of 3-years the McLaren-Honda team has seen nothing but trouble. Reliability has been the Achilles heel for the team. It has been so bad that the team has had to retire from 31 Grand Prix’s in just 3 years. That’s just north of 15 per driver, Jesus Christ. It has gotten so bad that Fernando Alonso, widely considered one of the best drivers ever, has only finished 3 of the 12 races he has entered. It got to the point that Alonso threatened to leave the McLaren garage if they didn’t disband from Honda. Lucky for him, he got his wish.
While Honda is heavily to blame for this year’s failures, McLaren still has a long road ahead. It appears that when the Honda engine isn’t destroying itself the McLaren chassis finds a way to end up out of sorts, something the team needs to work diligently to remedy. Although this will likely be easier when they can complete an entire lap without destruction, and that is where Renault comes in.
McLaren and the Toro Rosso team are officially set to switch dancing partners, with Honda leaving to Rosso and McLaren gaining the Renault power plant. While Toro Rosso hasn’t had the best season they have looked rock solid in comparison to the faulty Honda. And more so when they have managed to avoid self-destruction, they produce enough power for their drivers to stay competitive. Just look at Daniel Ricciardo’s podium finishes for that. At the very least I doubt they will break down because of the driver going ‘too fast,’ something the Honda absolutely cannot claim.
With the news of the divorce, it is likely Alonso will resign with the McLaren team, possibly finishing his tenure in Formula One in Orange and black. While it may be a stretch for the new McLaren-Renault combo to compete with Ferrari and Mercedes, it is currently more plausible than Honda actually finishing a race. Which is amazing considering they are a company known for their reliability. Either way, we only have to watch Alonso and his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne suffer through 7 more races until the switch can happen. Heres to hoping they can finish at least one of them.
In case you think I’m being too harsh, just check out this compilation of McLaren-Hondas retirements from the last 3 years. This isn’t all of them, just the ones they have onboard shots of, and yet the video is still 9 minutes long. I’d say that is not so good, yeah?