A divorce between McLaren and Honda is imminent this week after yet another shocking display at the Italian Grand Prix. During the weekend at Monza, word got around that McLaren was set to split from its current engine supplier Honda, with the Woking team confirming it had held talks with Renault.
McLaren-Honda reformed in 2015 with the hope of returning to the front of the grid and relive the success of the same partnership of the late 80's. However, Honda has failed to produce a competitive engine resulting in growing tensions over the last two and a half years.
This week, it appears that the official announcement will come, but it is not known whether McLaren's new engine partner will be revealed at the same time. Ferrari and Mercedes have both closed the door to McLaren, while Renault has recently admitted it is unwilling to supply a fourth team.
With F1's bosses also involved in the situation, one solution may be that Toro Rosso will take up a deal with Honda to make sure the Japanese manufacturer stays in the sport. This would free up an engine slot for Renault, allowing McLaren to fill in the spot.
Toro Rosso and Honda recently discussed a 2018 deal, but talks descended into nothing as the Red Bull junior team felt it was too late in the year to switch manufacturers, as development for its 2018 car is in the latter stages. It is also believed that Fernando Alonso will only remain with McLaren if the team drops Honda for next season.
Speaking after the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, Alonso admitted it was a very difficult race: "Our bosses were here today and, unfortunately, we could not deliver a good result. It’s very disappointing to have a double DNF," he said. "I had problems with upshifting from the very early stages of the race, which at some points was costing me a lot of time – almost a second a lap.
"We tried to fix the issue by changing some settings, but the shifting never worked as it should have, and it hampered my race. Starting from the back of the grid was never going to be easy here. We made up a few places during the race, but there was little chance we could make it into the points today. Now we are looking forward to Singapore, which is a more suitable track for us."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing