The Formula One partnership that was supposed to see McLaren soar to new heights has failed to even take off.
Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. At least that much seems to be true in the case of the Formula One partnership that has offered what can only be some form of grotesque spectacle that has gone far beyond the viewability of its audience. The McLaren-Honda partnership has now been the season-long laughingstock of Formula One.
The power unit, after being singled out as the sole problem regarding the lack of performance and reliability, is still somehow miraculously continuing to be an utter enigma for the folks over at Honda. The MGU-H unit has led to failed starts, mid-race shutdowns, and so many consecutive penalties that McLaren stand-in Jenson Button had to start his singular race of 2017 from pit lane. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
While some believe that Honda can still right this ship and earn McLaren’s favor again – with Honda themselves repeating that they are still “committed” to the partnership one hundred percent. Well, commitment doesn’t matter for much when the fruit of your labors is rotten. The framework has eroded to the point where it’s beginning to crumble, and now McLaren’s Chief Executive Zak Brown has come forth to admit that, at some point, a call has to be made:
“The executive committee have now given us our marching orders. 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.”
– Zak Brown
Not only has Honda managed to supply the most problematic engine on the grid, it appears that their communications department has gone AWOL as well:
“Honda’s working very hard but they seem a bit lost.
We were only told recently that we wouldn’t have the upgrade coming, 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 [Honda] are struggling to get it to come together.”
– Zak Brown
It’s impossible to know what exactly is going on at Honda that is causing such a disaster to continue to perpetuate, but one can only surmise that it is something like throwing water on an oil fire. Although the Japanese manufacturer’s efforts have yielded some minuscule results, the solution evades them so deftly that they’ve admitted that they don’t understand what makes the engine work right.
If such sentiments should strike up feelings of disbelief, just take a moment to remember the tragically poetic saga of Fernando Alonso in 2017 – the tale of a Spaniard driver granted a reprise from continuous engine failures taking a spot on the grid at the Indy 500 – only to end the race due to engine failure. From a Honda engine.