Another day and another issue for McLaren Honda.
With the Woking based side becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress from engine supplier Honda, F1 Top 10, takes a look at McLaren’s options for 2018 as a divorce from the once dominant partnership appears to be nearing ever closer.
Back to Mercedes Engines
The most likely scenario for 2018 is that McLaren will return to being supplied engines by Mercedes. The German manufacturer currently supplies engines to Force India and Williams alongside its works outfit with their F1 Boss, Toto Wolff saying Mercedes could supply a fourth team with engines next season.
Current Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton who won his first world championship with McLaren Mercedes is also keen to see McLaren return to Mercedes power in order for the Woking based side to return to the front of the grid.
If McLaren can secure a deal with Mercedes then they are likely to retain Fernando Alonso who is regarded as one of the best driver’s on the grid. The team will also benefit from the immediate step up in engine performance and that coupled with a good chassis design could propel them to the front of the field in 2018.
The other big aspect of a potential return to Mercedes power is the financial cost. The best engine on the grid for the past three seasons doesn’t come cheaply with a deal rumoured to cost $18 million a year and that coupled with the lost revenue from the Honda partnership will have big financial implications for the team.
Despite the financial cost, the benefits may outweigh the negatives for McLaren as a return to the front of the grid will result in more prize money from Formula One Management and could attract new sponsors to the team.
Alfa Romeo branded Ferrari Engine
The latest rumour to go around the F1 paddock is the possibility that McLaren could be set for an unexpected deal with Ferrari in 2018.
At first glance, it seems an unlikely prospect when you consider the rivalry between both companies that has ensued over the decades.
However, Ferrari President, Sergio Marchionne has always been keen to push the Alfa Romeo brand into F1 and perhaps now is the time to do so supplying McLaren with an Alfa Romeo branded Ferrari engine.
A deal between McLaren and Ferrari may not be as far fetched as it sounds with both heavyweights having something to gain from the partnership.
From the McLaren side they would receive an engine which is now on a par with World Champion’s Mercedes that would help bring the team closer to the front of the field while Ferrari who would gain tens of millions of pounds from McLaren for supplying the Woking based outfit with an engine.
In addition to this, Ferrari, would also benefit from the Alfa Romeo branding on the McLaren which could bring in further revenue.
On the face of it, Ferrari have more to gain than McLaren as far as the rumoured partnership is concerned and McLaren would also have to consider the fact that no customer Ferrari has beaten the works outfit which means McLaren would have to settle for second best.
While there’s not been an official announcement from McLaren regarding the split from Honda, many in the paddock believe it’s only a matter of when not if.
The most viable scenario for 2018 would be for McLaren to return to Mercedes power.
The partnership has been successful in the past and it’s only three years since they last worked together.
With the Mercedes engine, McLaren, can be sure of increased power which will see them move up the grid and back to the front if the chassis is as good as the engine which is where they belong to be!
Picture courtesy of Sky Sports F1