This year, McLaren-Honda has been bad. Very bad. The worst in F1, actually. But it was fun to watch, as you knew McLaren was going to stick through it and maybe the two icons in racing would work things out. Well, McLaren just said “we’re near our limit” and may really cut things off.
Reuters got the exclusive here, and got a ton of quite amazing quotes from McLaren’s executive director Zak Brown over the phone.
Reuters speculates that McLaren is looking pretty seriously at going back to its old partner Mercedes for engines and that even though Honda pays McLaren $100 million to use its engines, McLaren may still be losing money on its Honda deal if you factor in lost race winnings and dropped sponsorship deals. Damn.
But the good stuff is what Reuters got from Brown, detailing how McLaren is really at its wits end here. Honda won’t be bringing an updated engine to the nearing Canadian Grand Prix up in Montreal like it was supposed to, and that may be what’s bringing this all down:
“Honda’s working very hard but they seem a bit lost,” said Brown, who replaced Ron Dennis at the helm late last year.
“We were only told recently that we wouldn’t have the upgrade coming (for Montreal)...and we don’t have a definitive timeline, which is concerning because the pain is great and we can’t sit around forever.
“We were eagerly awaiting this upgrade as were our drivers and it’s a big disappointment that it’s not coming. It’s not lack of effort, but they are struggling to get it to come together.”
Brown continued, noting that, damn, this is hard to write. McLaren-Honda coming back was going to be a return to the glory days. I’m breaking up about this:
“The executive committee have now given us our marching orders,” said Brown, who is also chairman of the fast-growing Motorsport Network media group. “We’re not going to go into another year like this, in hope.”
“I don’t want to get into what our options are. Our preference is to win the world championship with Honda. But at some point you need to make a decision as to whether that’s achievable. And we have serious concerns.
“Missing upgrades, and upgrades not delivering to the level we were told they were going to, you can only take that so long. And we’re near our limit.”
I’m sad, man. I wanted this horrible romance to work out.