McLaren splits from Honda and joins Toro Rosso while Sainz gets Renault promotion

The McLaren nightmare with Honda power has come to an end with the news that this technical partnership will cease once the 2017 season is over.

McLaren and engine partners Honda have announced they are to end their current technical agreement at the end of the 2017 campaign. The team have been using the Japanese company’s power units for the past three seasons, with very limited success.

“Honda is a great company which, like McLaren, is in Formula 1 to win,” commented Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, McLaren Group Executive Chairman and Executive Committee principal.

“Although our partnership has not produced the desired success, that does not diminish the great history our two companies have enjoyed together, nor our continued efforts to achieve success in Formula 1. At this point in time, it is in the best interests of both companies that we pursue our racing ambitions separately.”

“It is unfortunate that we must part ways with McLaren before fulfilling our ambitions, however, we made the decision with a belief that this is the best course of action for each other’s future,” added Takahiro Hachigo, President & Representative Director of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

“On behalf of Honda, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to fans who have been very supportive of the team as well as the drivers, team members and everyone involved who shared with us in the joys and disappointments since we began preparing for our return to F1 in 2015. Honda will continue the fight together with McLaren all the way to the end of the 2017 season, and then continue its F1 racing activities in 2018 and beyond.”

Zak Brown, McLaren’s Executive Director, added that despite mixed results, Honda’s “commitment and energy to the mission of success in Formula 1″ could not be doubted.

“They are proven winners and innovators,” he said. “For a combination of reasons our partnership has not flourished as any of us would have wished. 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.”

Since joining forces in 2015, McLaren and Honda had been hoping to rekindle the success that took them to multiple world titles as partners in the late Eighties and early Nineties. However, the team finished just ninth in the standings that first year and sixth last season. In the 2017 table they again lie ninth, with only 11 points.

And so ends the three challenging and difficult seasons with Honda. McLaren will take on Renault power units from 2018 onwards, thanks to a swap deal with Toro Rosso.

Next season will see McLaren running power units from Renault, following their split from Honda announced earlier today. Honda will instead supply Toro Rosso, who are currently using Renault engines.

McLaren have agreed an engine supply partnership with Renault for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons. Despite a combined Formula 1 presence that stretches back to 1977, it will mark the first time that the two brands have ever collaborated.

Meanwhile, Toro Rosso have struck a multi-year agreement to put Honda’s power units in the back of their cars from 2018, having used Renault engines this year as well in 2014 and 2015. In that period they scored 137 points together, with two fourth places their best results.

McLaren say their Renault partnership will be one that will challenge for victory, following three disappointing seasons with Honda power.

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

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

The deal means that in addition to their own works squad, Renault will have two other championship-winning teams – McLaren and Red Bull – providing feedback on engine development next year.

“This is a strategic decision,” said Jerome Stoll, President of Renault Sport Racing. “This alliance is not only technical and sporting, but also comes with marketing and communication benefits. We know that McLaren will push us hard on track and this competition will be to the benefit of all.”

Best of luck Toro Rosso with Honda power. Hopefully better fortunes for the junior Red Bull team.

As for Carlos Sainz, Renault have announced that he will join them from Toro Rosso for 2018, though Carlos will only be ‘on loan’ from Red Bull.

The 23-year-old Spaniard will partner Nico Hulkenberg in a revised line-up, bringing Jolyon Palmer’s two-season spell with the team to a close.

“Carlos Sainz is a very promising driver who has been on our radar for some time, especially after his successes in Renault junior formulae,” said Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director of Renault Sport Racing.

“It is positive news for us to be able to confirm Carlos for 2018. This choice is well aligned with our mid-term strategic plans. We feel that Nico and Carlos will complement each other on and off track and the combination should help us push forwards on the grid.

“I would like to thank [Red Bull motorsport consultant ] Helmut Marko for loaning Carlos to us for this period. We must thank Jolyon for his ongoing hard work with the team and his efforts over the past two seasons. He is a dedicated driver and we wish him the best in the next steps of his career.”

Sainz, who has raced in 53 Grands Prix to date, scoring 100 points with a best finish of sixth place, expressed his delight with the move.

“I’m very happy to be joining Renault Sport Formula One Team,” he said. “To be a Formula 1 driver for a manufacturer team is an honour and I hope to reward Renault’s faith in me with my very best performances on track.

“The trajectory of Renault Sport Formula One Team is exciting and I’m proud to join at such an important time in their history. I am looking forward to working with everyone at Enstone and Viry, and driving alongside Nico Hulkenberg.

“I have worked closely with Renault in Formula 1 and previously in motorsport, so I know their motivation and capabilities. This is the start of a very exciting new chapter in my career.

“I would like to say thank you to Red Bull for all their confidence and support and for allowing me to take this opportunity. Last but not least, I specially want to thank all the people that work in Toro Rosso. They are a fantastic team of professionals and I wish them the best for the future.”

Red Bull’s Marko said he wished Sainz the best of luck in his new role, and, with reigning GP2 champion Pierre Gasly waiting in the wings, hinted that the Spaniard’s move would open the door for another young driver at Toro Rosso.

“He is a tremendous talent and he will benefit from working with a manufacturer team alongside a highly experienced driver,” said Marko of Sainz. “This will give Carlos a different challenge and we will be keenly watching his progress there as he remains part of the Red Bull family.

“This is very good development for both Carlos and Renault Sport Formula One Team and will also allow us to bring a new talent into Formula One.”

So a crazy swap shop deals in the world of Formula 1. McLaren are now Renault. Toro Rosso will use Honda and Carlos Sainz gets a promotion to a top works team.

5 thoughts on “McLaren splits from Honda and joins Toro Rosso while Sainz gets Renault promotion

  1. Honda’s president says that he agreed with McLaren in the end that it was best for both companies to split at the end of this season, as their divorce was made official on Friday.

    As news of the McLaren-Honda break-up was formally confirmed at the Singapore Grand Prix, Takahiro Hachigo said he was sad the partnership had not delivered results, but said that in the end it would not have been good for them to stay together.

    “It is unfortunate that we must part ways with McLaren before fulfilling our ambitions, however, we made the decision with a belief that this is the best course of action for each other’s future,” he said, in a statement issued by McLaren.

    “On behalf of Honda, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to fans who have been very supportive of the team as well as the drivers, team members and everyone involved who shared with us in the joys and disappointments since we began preparing for our return to F1 in 2015.

    “Honda will continue the fight together with McLaren all the way to the end of the 2017 season, and then continue its F1 racing activities in 2018 and beyond.”

    McLaren executive chairman Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa echoed Honda’s thoughts about the need to split.

    “At this point in time, it is in the best interests of both companies that we pursue our racing ambitions separately,” he said.

    McLaren executive director Zak Brown acknowledged that while Honda had not delivered success on track, it had been committed to at least trying to make progress.

    “There has never been any doubt over Honda’s commitment and energy to the mission of success in Formula 1,” he said. “They are proven winners and innovators.

    “For a combination of reasons our partnership has not flourished as any of us would have wished. 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.”

    McLaren will switch to Renault engines next year, while Honda will power Toro Rosso.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  2. With the Honda partnership now over, McLaren takes on Renault and hopes this power unit will be used as a “reference”. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    McLaren can act as a “reference” for Renault after the French manufacturer announced it will supply its Formula 1 rival with engines for the next three years, says Cyril Abiteboul.

    As part of a flurry of announcements in the Singapore Grand Prix paddock, Renault confirmed it is ending its deal with Toro Rosso and switching the supply to McLaren, who in turn parted ways with Honda.

    Renault managing director Abiteboul said the deal is key to helping Renault, which returned as a works outfit last season, achieve its goal of becoming a race-winning team in 2020.

    “McLaren is an inspirational team with two talented drivers which should not only support our engine development efforts but also act as a reference and an example in the ongoing construction of our chassis operations,” said Abiteboul.

    “This is an exciting new beginning with a championship-winning team that is hungry to return to glory.

    “This agreement is perfectly in line with our mid-term strategy and with our objective to be in a winning position as a team in 2020.

    “We are looking forward to seeing the Renault brand on next year’s McLaren and racing our new partners on track.”

    Renault president Jerome Stoll said the deal was a “strategic” decision that will provide benefits beyond its technical and sporting partnership.

    “It is the first time that Renault will work with McLaren and we are proud to have reached an agreement with an organisation that has such a rich Formula 1 history,” he said.

    “This alliance is not only technical and sporting, but also comes with marketing and communication benefits.

    “We know that McLaren will push us hard on track and this competition will be to the benefit of all.”

    McLaren’s executive director Zak Brown said the deal gives his outfit the “stability” it needs to “move ahead with our chassis and technical programme for 2018 without any further hesitation”.

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

    “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.”

    “At McLaren, we have the motivation, the desire and the resource to be a competitive force in 2018; now Renault power gives us the ability to take a significant step further up the grid.”

    Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, executive chairman and executive committee principal of the McLaren Group, described the deal as a “fresh chapter in the McLaren story”.

    He added: “At McLaren, we have the motivation, the desire and the resource to be a competitive force in 2018; now Renault power gives us the ability to take a significant step further up the grid.”

  3. Toro Rosso will use Honda power units from 2018 onwards with a new technical partnership. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Scuderia Toro Rosso has confirmed it will use Honda Formula 1 engines from next year in place of Renault after agreeing a “multi-year” deal.

    This comes as part of a series of announcements centred on Honda ending its supply deal with McLaren, which also includes Carlos Sainz Jr moving from Toro Rosso to drive for Renault next year.

    Toro Rosso director James Key explained that work is under way to adapt the 2018 Toro Rosso to take Honda engines, but that this will not require drastic changes despite the late deal.

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

    “There are some challenges to face given the time of year but Toro Rosso has faced many difficult tasks with timing in the past and has the flexibility to deal with it.

    “We will be working hard not to only redesign the power unit installation but also ensure that this has minimal or no effect on the ongoing development work for 2018 – that is our current target.

    “The architecture of the car will change in line with the power unit requirements and our chassis and gearbox designs are currently under review to be adapted accordingly.

    “Similarly we will be working closely with Honda on the performance aspects of the power unit installation that the chassis will influence to ensure we maximise the potential of the package as a whole from the outset.

    “We look forward to a strong, stable and proactive partnership with our colleagues at Honda.”

    Takahiro Hachigo, president of Honda Motor Company, thanked the FIA and commercial rights holder Liberty Media for the part it played in this deal happening.

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

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

    “I would like to express our appreciation to Liberty Media and the FIA for their cooperation toward the realisation of this partnership.

    “Honda and Toro Rosso will work as one team to strive for progress and a successful future together. We appreciate the support of our fans as we begin this challenge.”

    Toro Rosso has yet to confirm its 2018 driver line-up, with Honda protege Nobuharu Matsushita and Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly the leading candidates to replace Renault-bound Sainz alongside Kvyat.

    A Renault statement said that the termination of its supply deal with Toro Rosso, which started in 2014, was “mutually agreed”.

    It is understood McLaren has not been asked to supply Toro Rosso with a gearbox as part of the deal.

  4. As for Carlos Sainz, he will get a promotion to Renault but will be on loan for the 2018 season by Red Bull. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Renault has finally confirmed that Carlos Sainz will join the team on loan next year, with the Spaniard having been released for 2018 by Red Bull.

    Sainz had originally been expected to stay at Toro Rosso, but as part of the complex negotiations involving his current team’s switch to Honda engines he has been moved across to Renault.

    In a statement issued on Friday, Renault said that he would join the team for the start of next year – even though there remains a chance he could be slotted in alongside Nico Hulkenberg before then.

    Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “Carlos Sainz is a very promising driver who has been on our radar for some time, especially after his successes in Renault junior formulae. It is positive news for us to be able to confirm Carlos for 2018.

    “This choice is well aligned with our mid-term strategic plans. We feel that Nico and Carlos will complement each other on and off track and the combination should help us push forwards on the grid.

    “I would like to thank Helmut Marko for loaning Carlos to us for this period. We must thank Jolyon [Palmer] for his ongoing hard work with the team and his efforts over the past two seasons. He is a dedicated driver and we wish him the best in the next steps of his career.”

    Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko added: “We are happy to have reached an agreement for Carlos to drive for Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in 2018. He is a tremendous talent and he will benefit from working with a manufacturer team alongside a highly experienced driver.

    “This will give Carlos a different challenge and we will be keenly watching his progress there as he remains part of the Red Bull family. This is very good development for both Carlos and Renault Sport Formula 1 Team and will also allow us to bring a new talent into Formula 1.”

    Carlos Sainz said he was relishing the prospect of stepping up to a works team in 2018.

    “To be a Formula 1 driver for a manufacturer team is an honour and I hope to reward Renault’s faith in me with my very best performances on track,” he said.

    “The trajectory of Renault Sport Formula 1 Team is exciting and I’m proud to join at such an important time in their history.”

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