By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
The biggest open secret in racing is now official; McLaren announced today that it is ending its troubled partnership with Honda, and signed a three year engine deal with Renault that will secure the Woking team with power units through the 2020 season.
Takahiro Hachigo was regretful that the duo could not emulate the success of their illustrious past.
“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. 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.”
He continued by reasserting Honda’s ongoing commitment to F1, “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 Director Zak Brown acknowledged the sad ending of a failed partnership with grace, but also looked to the future in his statement.
“There has never been any doubt over Honda’s commitment and energy to the mission of success in Formula 1. They are proven winners and innovators. For a combination of reasons our partnership has not flourished as any of us would have wished,” Brown said. “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.”
For the new Renault partnership, the first such endeavor between two of F1’s biggest names, Brown was hopeful.
“Today’s announcement gives us the stability we need to move ahead with our chassis and technical program for 2018 without any further hesitation. As an organization, 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.”