Singapore - McLaren on Friday said they would drop Honda engines in favour of
Renault at the end of this season, ending a troubled partnership with
the Japanese manufacturer as they bid to return to the top of Formula
The celebrated British marque announced a three-year deal
covering 2018, 2019 and 2020 with France's Renault, who simultaneously
unveiled a split with Toro Rosso - who will now be powered by Honda.
related moves, which had been widely flagged, could ultimately herald a
shake-up in the pecking order of Formula One, which is currently
dominated by Mercedes and Ferrari.
Honda's exit is likely to
convince two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who has repeatedly
threatened to quit over the misfiring Honda engines, to stay at McLaren
As part of the deal, Toro Rosso loaned highly rated
Spaniard Carlos Sainz to Renault for 2018, where he will partner Nico
Hulkenberg - with Britain's Jolyon Palmer elbowed out.
announcement gives us the stability we need to move ahead with our
chassis and technical programme for 2018 without any further
hesitation," said McLaren executive director Zak Brown.
most successful Formula One team have failed to win a race since 2012
and are a long way from challenging Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.
vexed collaboration with Honda came to a head this month in Italy as
Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne both collected grid penalties and failed to
Vandoorne was penalised before the race after being fitted with a brand-new engine - and still suffered a power failure.
have been a part of Formula One as a constructor and engine supplier -
on and off - since 1964, but they have struggled with current
regulations which require a hybrid, part-electric power unit.
was no word from Renault or Red Bull on their future together,
following reports that the French manufacturer will walk away from their
partnership after 2018.
Red Bull and Renault have also been at
odds over the complex hybrid technology, whose introduction in 2014
coincided with the end of their four-year hold on the drivers' and
constructors' world championships.
Honda's best finish in the
constructors' standings was fourth, in 1967 and 2006, but they powered
McLaren and Williams to a string of titles in the late 1980s and early
1990s when Alain Prost and the late Ayrton Senna dominated F1.
Japanese car-making giant pulled its team out of the sport in 2008 to
cut costs to combat the global economic crisis before being saved by a
management buy-out led by team principal Ross Brawn.
teamed up with McLaren in 2015, the best finish by one of their drivers
has been sixth, a woeful sequence that has dealt a serious blow to their
They will now try their luck with Toro Rosso, Red
Bull's junior partner who admitted the timing of the announcement, late
in the season, was far from ideal.
"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,"
said Toro Rosso's technical director James Key.