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McLaren ditches Honda, to use Renault engines in 2018

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

IANS | London |

British Formula One team McLaren on Friday announced it would be ending its collaboration with Japanese car manufacturer Honda and would be powered by French Renault in 2018.

McLaren announced it would be splitting with Honda at the end of the season, following a disappointing three-year collaboration, and switching to Renault for three years, reports Efe.

“Although our partnership (with Honda) 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,” said the McLaren Group Executive Chairman and Executive Committee principal, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa al-Khalifa.

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

The move was widely expected as the British team continued to struggle with Honda’s engines, their partners throughout successes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as it lies ninth on the 2017 Constructor Standings.

Later, McLaren announced they had reached an agreement with Renault, the actual engine supplier for Toro Rosso, to power the team in the next three seasons.

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

“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,” he added.

At the same time, Toro Rosso, owned by Red Bull, announced a new partnership with Honda.

“Everyone in our team is very much looking forward to working with Honda,” Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said.

“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,” he added.

Likewise, Representative Director of Honda Motor Co, Ltd, Takahiro Hachigo, said that his company was looking forward to taking on the new challenge.

“We are excited to start this new chapter in our Formula One journey. I would like to express our appreciation to Liberty Media and the FIA for their cooperation toward the realisation of this partnership,” he said.