McLaren-Honda F1 Team May Test New Engine in Bahrain

There may yet be hope for Formula One's rockiest marriage.

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice
Mark Thompson—Getty Images

Every house in the Formula One neighborhood can overhear daddy McLaren and mommy Honda slamming the doors on each other and getting into shouting matches. Unfortunately, their two dependents, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, are forced to watch as the relationship between the team and factory engine supplier break down. But by no means does this suggest the two are planning to part ways. F1-Fansite.com reports that Honda will be bringing a brand new engine concept to test after the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend. 

The chief of Honda's Formula One engine development program, Yusuke Hasegawa, states the the main weakness is with the internal combustion unit, despite a McLaren simulation prior to the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend showing that the engine's energy recovery, storage, and deployment systems were also underperforming. Recent job postings in Autosport support this idea, as multiple positions are open in the realm of energy recovery systems.

With the rumors of an alleged April announcement of a Sauber-Honda partnership swirling, Honda may be renewing their commitment to the sport. It does not in any way appear likely that the motor giant has interest in splitting from the sport, and that it instead may wish to double down on its efforts to make a competitive Formula One engine. The new engine design will be tested during a special in-season test session at the Bahrain track after the Grand Prix. Given the abolition of the development-restricting token system, Honda may stand a genuine chance of catching up with this new engine design.

Hasegawa states that the goal is to have the new engine design proven ready for use at the fourth round of this year's Formula One season—the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrome. If Honda fail to bring a worthwhile upgrade to McLaren, the pair may split. May we pray that does not happen.