After months of speculation, McLaren has officially ended its agreement with Honda. It will switch to Renault power from 2018 onwards, as expected. Renault has officially concluded its agreement with Toro Rosso, too.
The story is certainly not done, as McLaren will hope the Renault power will be enough of an incentive to retain Fernando Alonso – with Williams thought to be circling. Red Bull could be affected as Renault looks to end its contract with the multiple world champions. Honda could be set to benefit, with rumours rife that Porsche is keen to take over the outfit.
A statement from McLaren said:
“The time has come to move ahead in different directions”
McLaren Technology Group and Honda Motor Co. Ltd announce they will discontinue their partnership for the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1) at the end of 2017 by mutual consent.
The McLaren Honda Formula 1 team will continue to compete for the remainder of the 2017 FIA Formula One Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Championships.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, McLaren Group Executive Chairman and Executive Committee principal, commented:
“Honda is a great company which, like McLaren, is in Formula 1 to win. 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.”
Takahiro Hachigo, President & Representative Director of Honda Motor Co. Ltd, commented:
“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. 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.”
“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. 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.”
Confimation of the Renault deal followed:
Renault Sport Racing and McLaren Racing are pleased to announce they have agreed an engine supply partnership for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons. The deal will see Renault Sport Racing supply McLaren with Formula 1 power units, while also establishing a close working relationship with McLaren’s engineers and technicians.
Despite a combined Formula 1 presence that stretches back to 1977 (McLaren Racing has contested 814 GPs; Renault 591 in its role as an engine manufacturer), this will mark the first time that the two brands have ever collaborated.
For McLaren Racing, the reason for the partnership is evident: Renault has demonstrated its ability to build championship-winning engines, for its own team as well as customer teams.
For Renault Sport Racing, it provides the manufacturer with a second top-level Formula 1 team able to provide it with top-class feedback in relation to the development of its engine.
McLaren Renault is a partnership that will challenge for victory.
Jérôme Stoll, President of Renault Sport Racing:
“This is a strategic decision for Renault Sport Racing. 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. 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.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing:
“We are pleased to confirm a new partnership for Renault Sport Racing and McLaren Racing and excited to embark on this new relationship of these two historic brands in Formula 1 cooperating together for the first time. 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. 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. This is an exciting new beginning with a championship-winning team that is hungry to return to glory.”
Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Executive Chairman and Executive Committee principal McLaren Group:
“Renault is a manufacturer that, like McLaren, has Formula 1 deeply woven into its DNA. It introduced the concept of turbo-charging to modern F1 back in 1977, has won Grands Prix with and without turbo power, and has been a consistent pioneer and developer of new technologies in Formula 1.
“And while a Renault-powered McLaren is a new and exciting concept in Formula 1, what’s most important is that this partnership gives us the equal opportunity to compete alongside the other Renault-powered teams.
“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.
“Today’s announcement starts a fresh chapter in the McLaren story – and we can’t wait to get started.”
Zak Brown, McLaren Technology Group Executive Director:
“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 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.”
Renault confirmed its split with Toro Rosso:
Renault Sport Racing conclude Scuderia Toro Rosso partnership
Renault Sport Racing can confirm that it has mutually agreed the termination of its partnership with Scuderia Toro Rosso at the end of the 2017 season.
Renault Sport Racing has partnered with Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2014, 2015 and 2017 seasons, scoring 137 points in this period, with a best-finish of fourth twice achieved by Max Verstappen in 2015.
And soon followed confirmation of its Honda deal
Scuderia Toro Rosso is pleased to announce that it has reached a multi-year agreement with Honda Motor Co. Ltd. to run Honda power units starting from the 2018 Formula 1 season.
Franz Tost (Scuderia Toro Rosso, Team Principal): “Everyone in our team is very much looking forward to working with Honda. Ever since its founder Soichiro Honda entered his motorcycles in events, racing has always been a central part of the company’s ethos. It’s a very exciting challenge and I hope that both parties will gain a great deal from it as we develop together. Honda has a long history in Formula 1, dating back to 1964 when it first entered the sport with its own team and, as an engine supplier it has taken five Drivers’ World Championship titles and six Constructors. This heritage, together with the full confidence that we have in Honda’s capabilities to succeed, make me strongly believe that we will achieve a fruitful future together.’
James Key (Scuderia Toro Rosso, Technical Director): “We are very pleased with our new partnership with Honda and the opportunities this presents, and we start to work immediately. 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 design and production activities in conjunction with Honda to ensure that we both hit all our important deadlines. 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 re-design the PU 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 PU 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 PU 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 & Representative Director of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.): “Toro Rosso is an experienced team with a youthful energy and history of nurturing the stars of the future. 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 realization 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.”
Confirmation that Sainz will join Renault
Twenty-three year-old Carlos has raced in 53 Formula 1 Grands Prix since making his debut at the start of the 2015 season in Australia. To date he has scored 100 points, with a best finishing position of sixth achieved four times. Prior to Formula 1, Carlos won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2014 as well as the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC championship in 2011.
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing:
“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 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.”
“I’m very happy to be joining Renault Sport Formula One Team. 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 Hülkenberg. 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.”
Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsport Consultant:
“We are happy to have reached an agreement for Carlos to drive for Renault Sport Formula One 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 One Team and will also allow us to bring a new talent into Formula One.”