The McLaren-Honda Split Really Does Sound Like A Bad Breakup

Pictured above: Sparks, something long absent from McLaren-Honda’s relationship. Photo credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

McLaren-Honda was like the tumultuous relationship everyone had to keep tabs on in high school—the one doomed to not work out, but that somehow always showed up holding hands the next morning before class. So, naturally, the breakup is going about like you’d expect from a high-school relationship.

McLaren finally moved onto a (slightly) better engine partner, Renault, for the 2017 season, and Honda wound up in front of Toro Rosso’s locker to smooth talk a multi-year deal starting in 2018. Now McLaren-Honda needs to finish out the year, like having to sit by your all-important high-school ex in science class.


McLaren and driver Fernando Alonso weren’t shy in how they felt about the lackluster engine Honda brought into the relationship, but Honda, the one with a lot more to lose in the breakup, kept quiet. After trying and trying again to win McLaren’s heart back, Honda and motorsport chief Masashi Yamamoto now get to dish all of the details we never heard. From Autosport, emphasis ours:

“Working with McLaren, I’ve realised that they are a very big company which is very systematic,” said Yamamoto in an interview on the Honda Racing website.

“It’s obviously very strong because of that but at the same time they can find it hard to adapt to change.

“Compare that to Toro Rosso, it is a company that is growing. It is very important for us to work in partnership together, heading towards the same goal.

“So for us we are very much looking forward to being able to work closer.

“Take this for an example: If we compare both teams with different cuisines, let’s say McLaren is a very sophisticated French cuisine, that’s the way it is.

“Then Toro Rosso is more like a countryside, homemade, delicious stew where you can add new ingredients. We’re excited to do that.”

That food analogy is a weird, weird thing to think about.

Either way, dirt probably isn’t the best thing to put in your homemade stew.

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Alanis King

Alanis King is a staff writer at Jalopnik.