McLaren at the 2017 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix
Honda’s return to Formula 1 in 2015 as a power unit supplier to McLaren has been disastrous, with the Japanese firm’s power units so far proving unreliable and lacking in performance.
McLaren is under contract with Honda until 2024 but Motorsport.com has learned from its sources that the two have reached an agreement to end the partnership at the end of the current season. The shakeup is thought to be critical in McLaren being able to retain Fernando Alonso, whose current contract ends this season.
McLaren will reportedly switch to a Renault power unit in 2018 and the two seasons after that. It’s expected the Renault power unit will have a parity specification to the Renault power units currently supplied to Renault’s own F1 team as well as Red Bull Racing.
By 2021, more suppliers are expected to enter due to new rules aimed at reducing the cost and complexity of power units. One of the new suppliers could end up being Porsche. There are also rumors of McLaren developing its own power unit.
As for Honda, the firm is already confirmed to be supplying Toro Rosso in 2018. The Red Bull feeder team is currently using Renault power units. As part of the deal, Renault is expected to sign up Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz as a replacement for Jolyon Palmer.
Stay tuned for an update.