McLaren Would ‘Absolutely’ Race With Honda Again in the Future

Is the Woking team just optimistic? Or is it a glutton for punishment?

byCaleb Jacobs|
F1 photo

If you stuck your nose anywhere around Formula 1 in 2017, you would have heard about the McLaren-Honda saga. It was another unsuccessful year for the duo, marking three consecutive seasons without so much as a podium for the once-historic partnership. Despite advanced testing and loads of research, the Honda power unit was still too slow and, mainly, too unreliable as it caused the vast majority of Fernando Alonso's 10 retirements this past season. Eventually, these issues prompted McLaren to switch engine partners for 2018, shacking up with Renault and leaving Honda in the dust.

But even then, after millions of dollars and hardly any good results on race day, McLaren just said that it would consider rejoining the Japanese engine maker in the future. What gives?

In an interview with Sky Sports, McLaren executive director Zak Brown explained the first time he knew a change would have to be made. 

"Ultimately we knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona, and we worked really hard for six months to try and find some solutions that give us some confidence that we would be much more competitive in 2018," Brown said. "Ultimately after trying many different things, many different ways, all of which were reported on, we felt that we couldn't get there.

"Three years is a long time in Formula 1 so we needed to change directions to get our team back on top. The decision we made is one we believe is the right one for McLaren."

© Richard (Rip) Shaub. All Rights Reserved

Taking all of these problems into account, McLaren and Honda have agreed that it wasn't meant to be this time around. They've each made their public statements and said it was an honor to work together once again, but for the future, this admittedly terrible run must be considered.

However, Brown has not given up hope for a potential return to Honda some years down the road.

"We are grateful to Honda. They're a great company, with great people, and the relationship was always strong. The relationship still is strong. Wouldn't rule out racing with them again, wish them the best but we needed to make some tough decisions to do what's in our best interest."

When asked to confirm his statement saying that he would consider working with Honda again, Brown replied: "Oh of course, absolutely."

© Richard (Rip) Shaub. All Rights Reserved

Whether or not this relationship will eventually rekindle is anyone's guess, but given Brown's feelings towards the situation, it seems like there's still a chance for another Cinderella story between the two. McLaren fans may resent it, but if things don't go as planned with Renault and the team decides not to build its own engine, a McLaren-Honda comeback could be in the cards—maybe.