The signs are growing by the day that McLaren and Honda are poised to split. As he waits for the saga to unfold, out-of-contract team driver Fernando Alonso has reportedly removed all reference to McLaren and its hapless Japanese engine supplier from his official Twitter profile.
Former F1 team owner and boss Gian Carlo Minardi thinks the die is cast on a McLaren-Renault deal for 2018. "During the delayed qualifying session at Monza, Zak Brown apparently signed an agreement with Cyril Abiteboul," said the Italian.
Minardi said he thinks the deal will be announced this week, with Honda staying in F1 by switching to the junior Red Bull team Toro Rosso. "As I say this, Honda's Yusuke Hawegawa is apparently flying to Japan to draw up the new programme," he added.
The Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure reports that the saga could end over the course of the coming weekend. Hasegawa is quoted as sounding pessimistic that the McLaren-Honda relationship can be rescued. "We want to stay with McLaren, but our next big change (upgrade) is not planned until Suzuka," said the Japanese. "We're going to run out of time to convince them." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing