It was announced earlier in the week that McLaren and Honda had decided to cut ties and end their ongoing engine partnership. This news meant that McLaren was left with one option for 2018 in Renault Sport, an agreement that was rumored to have already been made by team chief Zak Brown near the time of the Italian Grand Prix. However, speculation can now be stopped as McLaren has officially announced its engine partnership with Renault that will stand through the 2020 season.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise—a long and convoluted trade that sent Carlos Sainz Jr. to Renault and set Toro Rosso up for a Honda partnership in 2018 meant that McLaren’s announcement would soon follow. For many fans of the team, this comes as a good sign that will hopefully put an end to the heartache caused by the woes of Honda’s troubled engine supply.
This marks the first time the two manufacturers have cooperated in Formula One. McLaren’s press release detailed the newfound partnership between the two as a promising one, saying “McLaren Renault is a partnership that will challenge for victory.”
McLaren boss Zak Brown released the following statement on the transition:
“Today’s announcement gives us the stability we need to move ahead with our chassis and technical programme for 2018 without any further hesitation.
“As an organization, McLaren has always worked extremely hard to form lasting partnerships with its technical suppliers. We’re convinced that we can bring real value to Renault Sport Racing as we work alongside it to develop this current power unit into a regular race winner.”
The three year contract term is enough to buy McLaren time to make a decision for its future post-2021. According to Brown, the team is currently considering building its own engines once regulations change and make development cheaper, making the next few seasons with Renault essential for evaluation.
McLaren hopes that this move will help to retain its star driver Fernando Alonso past the expiration of his 2017 contract. The Spaniard is expected to make his decision within the next few weeks, so look for an announcement from the double world champion soon.