It’s rather obvious that McLaren and Honda are headed for a breakup at the end of the 2017 season barring some miracle turn around from Honda. If the two break up, what happens to Honda and what happens to McLaren? The partnership hasn’t reaped the benefits both thought and it certainly hasn’t brought the dayglow McLaren Honda glory back to F1. So what now?
A lot of speculation has been flying around that Sauber could be switching from Ferrari engines to Honda in 2018. There is always the outside chance they switch to Mercedes engines too with the Pascal connection within the team. However, if Honda is going to give them a better deal, look for them to run Hondas.
There are two other trains of thought here. The first being Honda moving all their support from McLaren Honda to Sauber Honda. When BMW was in the sport they were BMW Sauber, a factory effort with the Sauber team. It didn’t really reap the benefits either side thought it would. One win in four season wasn’t ideal. The team did finish second in the constructors standings in 2007. There is a good chance that Sauber and Honda join forces. Everyone knows Sauber has money issues, they are constantly struggling to survive in the sport. Honda bringing factory support, resources and the almighty dollar would help.
The other train of thought is Honda buys Sauber and turns the entire outfit into Honda F1. The sam way Mercedes bought Brawn F1 and made them the factory works team. Honda could do the same with Sauber. Which honestly wouldn’t be a bad thing, the sport needs more factory backed teams.
What About McLaren
The Woking based outfit could very well and will likely be headed back to Mercedes. As the factory Mercedes team for years the two will find a way to come back together. McLaren and Mercedes did great things together, no way Mercedes won’t at least entertain the idea.
Downside, Mercedes likely isn’t going to be content with a team they supply out running them. McLaren is really the only legitimate threat to the Silver Arrows should they get Mercedes power plants back in their cars.
Either way, McLaren will not be running Honda engines next season. There is no way, forget about the money. This team is in the business of winning. Honda is not giving them the opportunity to win, let alone compete for podiums. It has to be massively embarassing for the McLaren to run around the back with the likes of Toro Rosso and Renault.
Sauber has until May 6th to tell the FIA if they intend on switching engine suppliers for the 2018 season. Look for McLaren news around that time too.
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