As we’ve said many, many, many, many, many times before, the McLaren-Honda Formula One team is not good. The “Honda” part of it is usually what makes the team so catastrophically bad, and the team may get rid of that in 2018 by using only the second-worst engine supplier in F1: Renault.
Not only is Renault a step—just one—above the Honda power unit, but it’s also the only current engine supplier in F1 that hasn’t shot McLaren’s pleas down. And, Autosport reports, Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul actually confirmed that the supplier’s been talking to McLaren about the possibility of powering its F1 cars.
But Renault isn’t super keen on supplying four teams with engines, which is what would happen if it committed to McLaren without dumping anyone else. From Autosport:
“The situation is we have a multi-year contract with Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso,” said Abiteboul. [Renault also has a factory team.]
“So frankly we are open to discussions. I can confirm there have been discussions with McLaren, but right now there is a restriction in the regulation if we wanted to supply more than three teams.
“In addition to that, I don’t think it would be reasonable to believe that we could supply more than three without degrading the level of service, the quality of service, for the other teams. ...”
Honda, meanwhile, has been trying to improve its quality in general all year, to the point that the team met its pre-season performance goals for the engine halfway through the season. Motorsport.com reports that Honda didn’t meet its goals for the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, either, but that McLaren has seen “some improvements” from the engine so far.
Improvements. Improvements are good, but they may not be enough to keep McLaren from improving itself on over to a Renault engine.