McLaren-Honda: A decision is near

After a dissapointing Belgian GP weekend and another upcoming very difficult Italian GP, the decision of McLaren’s engine situation for 2018 is near. We reflect some of the options and showing also the opinion of a long McLaren Fan.

Silverstone, Northamptonshire, UK.
Friday 14 July 2017.
Engineers return Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32 Honda, to the garage.
Photo: Andrew Hone/McLaren
ref: Digital Image _ONZ3713

The speculations that are going on since the first winter test in February, could end finally in the next days – we reported about the engine dilema of McLaren back in the end of July before the Hungarian GP.

The huge damaged partnership between the british racing team and Honda are on the crossroad for weeks now. At the Belgian GP Channel 4 commentator and ex-F1 driver David Couldhard forced McLaren-CEO Zak Brown the deadline, of the decision of the engine deal. The answer: In the next two weeks, at least in September.

The reason of this is clear: As every other teams McLaren working on the 2018 car for weeks now. And now they coming into a stage, where they have to know with what engine they will start next year. But not only for McLaren the time is running, also for the potential new partner of Honda, Toro Rosso have to know at least at the Italian GP this week, with which engine supplier they will start in 2018.

Toro Rosso-Honda – The only way out for McLaren

Despite Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa and Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost denied a conversation between the japanese manufactur and the Italian team, there are conversations right now – McLaren got also a inquiry supplying Toro Rosso with an gearbox next year, as they are the only team that running with Honda engines currently.

 

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.
Sunday 26 March 2017.
Eric Boullier, Racing Director, McLaren.
World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/McLaren.
Ref: Digital Image _J6I3310

It would make sense for everyone. Honda has no longer the pressure of building a winning-engine immediatly, McLaren are free for Renault and could do an engine swap with Toro Rosso, and the italian Red Bull-Junior team could test the Honda engines for an possibly supply for the Red Bull-A team in 2019.

According “Auto Motor und Sport” the Red Bull company is open minded for a deal between Honda and Toro Rosso.

But Honda have other plans. The Japanese people want’s to show the world that they could rise the bad situation into a good one, and this only with McLaren.

Is McLaren-Renault a better solution? – Looking to 2020/2021

On the other hand this could be a big risk, as McLaren will be the big loser if Toro Rosso or Red Bull getting their stuff together with Honda, and Honda will build a stronger engine as Renault in 2018 and also need to pay for that and also looses all the big money from Honda.

Definitly, the solution with Renault, driving the same PU alongside the workteam and also the big Red Bull team as a customer, could not be a long term solution. But it is also known that this solution will be no long term relationship with Renault – It should be giving the team better results till the next engine revolution in 2020/2021, where McLaren will be looking for a new manufactur till that. The new engines, will be probably a V6-Bitturbo with KERS. Many manufacturs showed their interests in the last meetings. So it is more than possible, that McLaren considering this.

But for sure, probably no one would swap the position with Zak Brown, Eric Boullier or the Executive Comitee. The british team has moved themselves in a dilemma. Ferrari and Mercedes don’t wanna supply them and Renault also is not available, as long as they have four teams to supply.

Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Sunday 28 May 2017.
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 Honda, on the grid.
Photo: Andrew Hone/McLaren
ref: Digital Image _ONZ0291

McLaren and Honda – The partnership is already broken

There is no question if the partnership from McLaren and Honda is broken – The question is how strong they could recover from that. The pressconference from last Friday showed that the tablecloth between the two companys is at their last breaths.

McLaren lost their trust in Honda – And Honda showed again in Belgian with the Spec 3.6, that they are currently not good enough, to compete against the other manufacturs. After running the new 3.6 Spec on last fridays practise sessions, the mechanics had to changed back the engine to Spec 3.5 on Vandoornes car, after Honda found another issue overnight.

In Belgian both McLaren’s getting passed from every side on the long straight. Everyone knows the end: Alonso retired again and Vandoorne finished only the back of the field – On a track where Alonso drove from P22 to P7 in last years season, where everybody thought that Honda reach the turnaround.

Coming now to Monza, the best known highspeed circuit of the calender, everyone knows how difficult the weekend will be for McLaren-Honda. Probably their best finish will be a place in the Top 15.

But as written about, with Toro Rossos engine deadline end at this weekend, the F1 world will probably know next week how McLaren and Honda continue in F1

The words from a McLaren Fan

We know what media thinks about the matter. We know what experts say.  We know what Alonso and his Fans think. But what a true McLaren Fans, that sticking with the team for many years, with different drivers, different engine suppliers and different people on the board thinking abou the current situation. We talked with McLaren-Fan Owen Davies and asking him for his opinion.

“This is a difficult moment for the team clearly, certainly for new boss, Zak Brown. McLaren will be better placed to make a better educated judgement about what changes need to be made than us fans. From what I’ve read, all I know is the current level of performance seems untenable in the short term (let alone the longer term) for McLaren. In these circumstances, change seems inevitable now to most fans. I trust the team to make the right call for the future though.” – Owen Davis/ @f1mclarenfan on twitter

 

Alonso to Williams: wishful thinking or winning combination?

When Formula One returned to action at the end of the summer break, it looked as though Ferrari’s decision to retain Kimi Räikkönen had brought silly season to an early close.

But during preparation for the Belgian Grand Prix, the driver market was given a second wind when rumours emerged that Williams had offered Fernando Alonso a seat for 2018.

Steven Tee/McLaren

At first glance, it seems like a sensational story—the final, erratic death throes of what’s been a rather damp silly season. The two parties just don’t seem in the slightest bit compatible. Alonso is hunting for his third world title; Williams is currently fighting to hold off Haas and Toro Rosso to fifth in the Constructors’.

Then there is the monetary aspect: while Williams is believed to have only the sixth largest budget of the ten teams, Alonso’s services come with a price tag in the tens of millions.

But on the other hand, there remain several details in the background of this story that suggest an Alonso-Williams tie-up would be a serious consideration for all involved.

Steven Tee/McLaren

For one thing, this is not your average silly season rumour, sparked out of nowhere and fanned into a frenzy overnight—it was first reported in the highly-respected German publication Auto Motor und Sport.

It also goes without saying that (financial questions notwithstanding) Williams would love to have Alonso driving next year’s FW41. In terms of base performance he would represent a marked upgrade on Felipe Massa, and as teammate to the maturing Lance Stroll, Alonso’s experience and ability would prove the ultimate benchmark—as Stoffel Vandoorne can no doubt attest.

Nor is that the only benefit to the team of signing a driver of Alonso’s calibre. When quizzed on the rumours by SkySports in Belgium, Williams’ technical director Paddy Lowe said: “You need great drivers and great cars to win races. With a greater driver in the team, everybody is motivated to work that bit harder for performance because they know it’s going to be exploited and deliver great results.”

Alonso is not a questionable rookie like Pastor Maldonado or Bruno Senna, nor is he a former winner seeing out his twilight years like Massa or Rubens Barrichello—he is a proven champion with both the ability and the drive to win again, whose presence at Williams would lend total credence to their ultimate goal of becoming title contenders once again.

Zak Mauger/LAT Images/Pirelli Media

But would Alonso even entertain an offer from Williams? If a credible shot at the 2018 title is not something Williams can provide him, what makes them any more attractive an option than joining Renault instead, or even remaining at McLaren?

At the very least, Alonso might be tempted into switching to Williams by nothing more than a desire to enjoy racing again. After three years of disappointment at McLaren-Honda, the prospect of driving a package with no horsepower deficit or reliability concerns to hold him back may prove all the enticement Alonso needs to make the move.

There’s also next year’s driver market to consider. With no championship seats available to him now, Alonso’s next best hope is that the final year on Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes contract results in a vacancy at the Silver Arrows for 2019.

And if Alonso is planning on just “seeing out” the 2018 season until a better drive becomes available, he will find more freedom to do so at Williams than with McLaren or Renault—either by insisting on certain performance clauses in case the need for an early exit arises, or by negotiating to take a fraction of his usual superstar salary in return for an open one-year deal.

Steven Tee/McLaren

There is also the chance, however slim it might seem at present, that Williams will in fact be the team to join in 2018.

As well as commenting coyly on the merits of signing a “great driver”, Paddy Lowe also told Motorsport following the Belgian Grand Prix weekend that he was overseeing “substantial changes” to Williams’ design philosophy in the process of constructing next year’s FW41.

His words came at the same time as Felipe Massa criticised the team for falling behind in the 2017 development race—the assumption is that Williams is already calling a halt on this year’s programme to allow Lowe a headstart on designing a much more competitive 2018 challenger.

If that is the case, it would mark the next major step in Williams’ painstaking long-term plan to return to its former status as one of F1’s top teams. The first phase came in 2014, with the acquisition of Felipe Massa and a Mercedes engine supply, and a substantial increase in budget supported by new title sponsors Martini.

The result was the rapid FW36, which between Massa and Valtteri Bottas took more than four times the podiums than its predecessor did points finishes (not to mention pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix) and lifted Williams up from ninth to third in the Constructors’ standings.

Andrew Hone/Pirelli Media

Since then, Williams has enjoyed consistent running within the championship top five—its best string of Constructors’ results since its partnership with BMW in the early 2000s—and has created the perfect foundation from which to take its next great leap forward.

In Paddy Lowe, Williams has the talent capable of designing a race-winning FW41; in Martini, Lawrence Stroll and their past seasons’ results, they now have the money needed to make that design a reality.

None of that will be lost on Alonso, who has been on the grid long enough to know the signs of a team making genuine progress.

All that remains in doubt is whether Williams’ promises can sway him more than McLaren-Honda’s.

Why Fernando Alonso could end up in Indycar in 2018

Fernando Alonso in IndyCar for 2018?  What was impossible to think a few weeks ago, is getting pretty serious after the Belgian GP.  Now it seems to be, that a year out in the indycar series could be the last chance for the two time world champion to get a competitive car in F1.

Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. .
Sunday 30 July 2017.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren.
Photo: Steven Tee/McLaren
ref: Digital Image _R3I4275

Currently these are not just serious weeks for McLaren (article is incoming in the next two days) – but also their star driver is facing a tough few weeks of decisions, probably on the destiny of his career.

After a solid performance for McLaren-Honda in the Hungarian GP back at the end of July, everyone was sure that a extension of the McLaren-contract was only few weeks away.  But now, after the Belgian GP everything looks different.

After more engine problems in Saturday’s Qualifying, everyone thought about points when the Spaniard was running P7 after a tremendously strong start. But again, a few laps into the race the Honda Powerunit showed the poor performance on the long straight.

Alonso got passed car by car on every lap and his radio messages were angrier then ever before. In the end he pulled the car into the garage, after he told the team that he had some engine problems.

The media reported after the race, that he pulled the car into the garage on purpose. Honda said on Monday, that they didn’t find any problems on the power unit. The suspicion gets stronger when you listen to the team radio, before he reported the engine problems – In that team radio Alonso asked engineer Mark Temple if there was any rain coming. After receiving a negation of his question, the Spaniard told the box “engine problem, engine problem”.

Options for Alonso look slim, after Ferrari extended the contracts of both drivers into 2018 for Räikkonen and until 2020 for Vettel, and the extension of Bottas’ Mercedes contract looks as good as safe. Renault’s team boss Cyris Abiteboul indicates that the french team, isn’t currently the right location for the two time world champion. “There is one thing, i don’t want: A frustrating Fernando in a Renault.”

Next to stay with McLaren, who are probably getting forced to hold the Honda engine in 2018, the spanish driver doesn’t have many options. “My market value was never higher”, he told the media after the race on sunday. “I will win next year, no matter where i am”, he told the media before the summer break.”

But what does he mean with that?

Sabbaticalyear from F1 – Going to Indycar?

If we piece the puzzle together, there is one realistic option that is available for Alonso. And this is the Indycar series. Why? Here are some points:

 

Winning car with Andretti

If Alonso will go to the indycar series, he will get the spare place on the Andretti team for sure – the team that he competed alongside McLaren in the indy500 with in May. Andretti is one of the best teams in the series and with Takuma  Sato they have also the current Indy500 winner in the team. Honda also resolved the engine problems that stopped Alonso at this maiden race a few laps before the end – and differently to F1, they have the best engine.

 

Popularity in the USA

In the whole month of May, starting with his first test with the indycar, Alonso was getting more popular on every event. Hundreds of autographs and fans stood there cheering for the McLaren-Honda-Andretti team from the grandstands. The Spaniard admitted a few days after the race, that he enjoyed the warm welcome to the world of the Indycar series, because he got respect from every side, from the other teams, drivers, fans and media. “Thats different in F1” he said.

New try at the Indy500

With a full season of Indycar, Alonso could attend the Indy500 directly, and with a high chance again with McLaren. He could give the whole story another go – Something he could only try in some years again, if he stays in F1, because the Monaco GP will again collide with the Indy500 in 2018.

Most competitive driver

The Indy500 showed that Alonso is not only able to impress with an F1 car. The Spaniard in his current form in F1, could possibly let his driving skills shine, in a series where the drivers are most of the time more important than the cars.

The best option for McLaren

For McLaren this scenario would be also a good one providing that they are forced to stick with Honda in 2018. It would be much easier to look at 2018 and give Honda a last chance of building a stronger engine package, without the pressure of staying with Alonso.  A driver replacement for one year could be Jenson Button, for example. Alonso stays with Andretti in the Honda family and could stay in touch with the woking based team.

F1-Comeback in 2019

The most important point is, that Alonso also has the opportunity to come back into F1, probably stronger than he is now. In 2018 he could also wait and see if Honda (if they will stay with McLaren) get their problems solved – if now, he could use other options. The contract from Lewis Hamilton expires at the end of 2018 and also Renaults goal is, to be fighting for victories and the championship in 2019. The two time world champion could see the whole evolution of the driver market from a relaxed point of view from the USA and decide than what he wants, without risking another year of driving in the midfield.

It will be another cracking decision at McLaren in the weeks to come. We will have to wait and see!

 

 

 

 

Is Lando Norris a future Formula One star?

Until recently, Lando Norris was a name relatively unknown outside of junior categories. This is all set to change.

The seventeen year old is no stranger to success. Bursting onto the scene in 2014, he finished a respectable third in the Ginetta Junior Championship, taking four wins from twenty races. Norris had his first taste of success the following year at the 2015 MSA Formula Championship, where he took the title by sheer consistency. Last year, he enjoyed a similar run of success, dominating the 2016 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship as a rookie. It was a strong showing for Norris and a clear indication of his potential as he took six poles and five wins from seven rounds. He commanded the 2016 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Championship, taking an impressive ten poles and six wins. Norris also won the 2016 Toyota Racing series in a domineering fashion, his closest rival a massive 135 points away.

Credit: Zak Mauger/LAT Images

His success last year caught the eye of one of Formula One’s most successful manufacturers. In February 2017, McLaren announced that Norris was joining it’s Young Driver Programme in wake of Stoffel Vandoorne’s graduation into the racing seat. It seemed like a good match. McLaren seemed the perfect choice to nurture Norris’s career through junior categories, having done so with Lewis Hamilton and Stoffel Vandoorne to great success.

Norris moved into the Formula 3 European Championship with Carlin in 2017. He faced tough competition from the might of Prema, the defending champions and Maximilian Günther, the runner up to Lance Stroll in 2016. Norris’s career in Formula Three got off to a strong start. He secured pole and the win in the opening race at Silverstone. However, in the second race, his Achilles heel became evident. He was slow off the start, hindered by the damp track and lost positions, finishing ninth. Norris’s bad luck with starts continued in the third race of the round and he was unable to challenge Günther and Callum Ilott ahead.

In Monza, however, he returned to his winning ways, scooping a win and two second place finishes in the three rounds. In Pau, Norris continued to look strong, taking two pole positions. However, he was unable to convert these into race wins. In the second race, he was jumped at the start by Günther and in the third race, he led comfortably, his poor start jinx was seemingly behind him until a front-suspension failure pitched him into the barriers.Again, in Hungary, Norris was plagued by bad starts. He lost positions in the races and only scored one podium finish. At the Norisring, Norris showcased his hunger to win by starting in a lowly fourth and hunting down his rivals to secure his third win in the championship.

Norris seemed unbeatable at Spa. He snatched two pole positions, taking a light to flag victory in the first race. His demons of a bad start seemed forgotten, even when he came under pressure from Ilott. The second race, however, saw the youngster swamped by his competitors, eventually picking up suspension and bodywork damage that ruled him out of the race. He seemed to put that disappointment behind him in the third race of the round. Starting in fourth, Norris surged through his rivals with ease, seemingly motivated by his failure in race two. He showcased some excellent overtaking manoeuvres, securing his fifth win of the season. Norris’s performance in Monza showed what he was capable of, that he could produce results and he wasn’t afraid of reaching the top.

Norris tested for McLaren in Hungary earlier this week, collecting the prize for winning the 2016 McLaren Autosport BRDC award. In previous years, familiar names such as Jenson Button and Paul di Resta have won the award, taking place in testing in older machinery. Interestingly, Norris was able to drive the most current car, showing how much faith McLaren already had in the teenager. He did not disappoint either. Norris completed a sensational run in which he closely challenged the two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen for the top spot. Clocking 91 laps, Norris treated Formula One to a mastershow as he produced a fantastic lap of 1.17.385, just 0.271 seconds off the pace of Vettel’s Ferrari. Norris also proved invaluable to the McLaren team as he gathered valuable aero data, long-run pace and set up adjustments. Éric Boullier in particular, was singing his praises at the end of the test. Norris showed that he could get to grips with the mechanics of a Formula One car and that he was a force to be reckoned with.

So could we see Norris in Formula One anytime soon? Norris certainly has the potential to be a contender for the McLaren seat in a few years time. Fernando Alonso’s contract is due to expire at the end of this season and seeing Norris’s raw pace and ease with the controls of the McLaren could certainly make him a strong contender to stand alongside Vandoorne. His strength in Formula Three, a series that has produced many F1 drivers in recent years, coupled with his exceptional testing certainly have made McLaren take notice. They seem to be the perfect fit for Norris, being a team with an extensive driver’s academy who have moulded Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen into F1 drivers, both of whom still compete in the Championship today.

Norris currently lies in second position in the Formula Three Championship. The strong showings in Formula Three show that Norris has something special. He is performing well in the face of tough competition. Norris is still inconsistent at times, particularly in his race starts but he seems to be overcoming his demons. And as Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi show, drivers don’t often come into Formula One polished. If Lando Norris does manage to make it into Formula One, he is likely he will be the same to begin with. Fortunately, for Norris, McLaren are a team that are patient and allows their junior drivers to develop at their own pace. This is clear from Vandoorne’s recent performances, blossoming after a shaky start at the wheel of the McLaren.

Credit: Mark Sutton/LAT Images

It seems unlikely however, that with Alonso’s departure, that Norris would be filling the vacant seat next year. Although, Norris could potentially acquire enough points for a 2017 FIA Super Licence next season and he would be eligible later this year when he turns 18, McLaren may not want to take on another rookie driver so soon after working to develop Vandoorne’s ability. McLaren may desire a bigger name and a more experienced driver to work alongside the team for the 2018 season, one that could potentially bring in more sponsorship deals. They may bring Jenson Button back for a season and send Norris to Formula Two or another series, in a situation similar to Vandoorne’s, to hone the teenager’s race craft and prepare him for Formula One. His status also depends on how successful the Formula Three season is for him. He needs to showcase his talents and prove to McLaren that he is a winner in all aspects and worthy of taking Alonso’s position away. His status as a British driver, and one that could follow in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton could certainly improve his prospects of driving for McLaren in later years. Norris is capable of producing results when qualifying doesn’t go well for him and he is experienced at carving his way through the field to reach the top step. It’s a hunger that undoubtedly, would be welcomed in Formula One.

It still remains to be seen what will happen next year at McLaren. It is dependent on Norris’s results and whether McLaren are ready to take a chance on a driver from Formula Three, as Toro Rosso and Williams did before them. Norris has proved so far that he is a diamond in the rough. He can produce sensational results both in his own series and in F1 testing, and he has the drive and hunger to succeed. The way he conducted himself within the test shows clear maturity and work ethic, factors that are critical to success in Formula One. There are elements of his driving that could be improved, but these can be honed as he continues to develop in his career. If McLaren are willing to shape him into the driver they need, he could well be a commanding force in years to come.

All images courtesy of McLaren.

Hungarian GP: Big chance for McLaren?

The Hungarian Grand Prix could be one of the biggest chances for McLaren-Honda to score some points and start to catch up the midfield. But while the focus is on track performance, the big question remains if the long-suffering British-Japanese alliance will be still competing together in 2018.

Steven Tee/McLaren

The upcoming weekend in Budapest will be the big hope for the third year in a row for McLaren. In the last two years, the team’s best results of the season have been achieved at the Hungaroring, where a good chassis is much more important than on most of any other tracks in the current calendar.

While Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finished fifth and ninth in the disaster year of 2015 both McLaren drivers made it to the third qualifying session in last year’s Grand Prix.

With the MCL32, probably the best McLaren chassis in the last few years, showing significant progress at Silverstone, this race should be a good opportunity.

Also (currently) Alonso doesn’t have to worry about a grid penalty this weekend: this is due to the fact that McLaren changed all parts of the engine in Silverstone, to protect Alonso from grid penalties in Budapest.

Steven Tee/McLaren

With the good chassis, there is also light on the other side of the garage.  Stoffel Vandoorne was able to show a clear uptrend in the last races: most recently his Q3 appearance at Silverstone, in which he outqualified his teammate for the first time this year.

“I’ve won in Hungary before, in GP2, and I enjoy driving on this track,” Vandoorne said. “Although we’ve been a bit unlucky, I feel that my performances have been consistent and improving race-by-race.

“I’ve been working hard with the engineers and I feel confident in the car—my weekends are coming together better now in the first part of the season and as a team we are progressing every weekend. We have to be patient, keep working hard, and I hope to see the reward for our efforts paying off soon.”

McLaren have to score points in Hungary. Just in mind: even in the painful 2015 season, the team had more points than now. With only two points in the  bag, the ex-winners still hangs in the last place of the Constructors’ World Championship.

Sutton/McLaren

Reliability

Unfortunately, there is still a big concern for this weekend: and there it is, the big topic of the last weeks: Honda. While the Japanese were able to bring more power with the latest upgrade, the engine is still hurt by massive reliability issues—the latest being on Alonso’s car in Silverstone, when the Spaniard had to drag his McLaren back into the pits with the words, “No power”. Reason enough for the star pilot to think about the reliability:

“The important thing for us, as always, is reliability,” Alonso said. “Even if our car could perform better in Hungary, we need to have a trouble-free weekend to take advantage of every opportunity for points.

“We made some big decisions in Silverstone in terms of taking grid penalties in preparation for this race, and hope that’s paid off so we can put ourselves in the best possible position for points this weekend.”

A current statistic from Speedweek.com shows the worse numbers since 2015. They put the rate of DNF’s from Alonso’s F1 years from 2005–2014 in comparison to his last three seasons with McLaren-Honda. The shocking result: while Alonso had a failure rate of less than 10% in the first few years, the Spaniard failed to finish 40% of his races in the last three years.

Andrew Hone/McLaren

McLaren and the engine question

Regarding the competitiveness of the engine, more and more people have been wondering how the McLaren-Honda partnership could continue. If all the media reports tell the truth, McLaren would probably start with four different engines in 2018. From the obvious Mercedes comeback, to a branded Alfa Romeo-Ferrari engine, and finally the possibility of Renault.

The fact is, McLaren and Honda have an existing contract and Honda Motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto spoke to the media last week and made it clear that Honda has no intention to leave McLaren or the sport, or consider the possibility of McLaren using another engine until the Japanese company solves its problems:

“There is a contract between us and the premise of the talks with them is to continue,” he said. “We exclude the possibility that McLaren will even temporarily use the power unit of another manufacturer. I am always talking with president Takahiro Hachigo and the board members, and there is no intention to withdraw from Formula One.”

After comments to the media from both the McLaren leadership and from the drivers, the words of McLaren boss Zak Brown and the whole Woking team have been much quieter since the Austrian Grand Prix.

Sutton/McLaren

While Mercedes and Ferrari don’t seem to want supply McLaren, the talks with Renault as an engine partner continue. But the chance of seeing McLaren and Honda together on the 2018 grid is getting more and more likely. Not only because of the loss of money, but because time is also playing against the British team. But there are other reasons why McLaren will probably stay with Honda:

  1. There is maybe time until October to decide what engine should be in next year’s car—but remember that the Renault engine has a completely different layout then the Mercedes or Honda engine. Honda copied the Mercedes concept after getting to the performance limit with their 2015/2016 engine layouts. According to Zak Brown, the building of the 2018 car begins now. That means that the team has to build two different chassis, one for a Honda engine and the other for a Renault engine. That will definitely be no help for 2018.
  2. If McLaren break the current contract between them and Honda while not having another engine deal in the pocket, they will not only pay much money for breaking the contract. The FIA Rules say: The manufacturer with the fewest teams to supply will be forced to supply a team which has no engine. And you know what manufacturer that is? Bingo! It’s Honda.

Remembering these facts, McLaren will probably be forced to keep Honda as partner next year and hoping for a massive improvement.

Whatever is going to come out at the end of this engine-war, a decision will probably be taken in the coming weeks. So the team and the fans will have no choice, but to make the best of the situation and believe in something similar as two weeks ago in Silverstone,  where a McLaren finished a session (Q1) fastest for the first time since India 2013.