McLaren switches to Renault engines and Honda goes Toro Rosso

The expected happened: after many months in the waiting, McLaren has confirmed an engine partnership with Renault F1 Sport while Honda confirmed it will supply engines to Toro Rosso from 2018. The McLaren Renault partnership will only start in 2018 unfortunately.

Is this a good outcome for the sport? Spanish driver Fernando Alonso has said it many times: give me a winning car and I will stay - else he was adamant to explore other racing categories for 2018. As for McLaren, they also wanted results - which never came from the under-powered Honda engine after 2 full seasons.

The McLaren swith to Renault also impacted Toro Rosso, which confirmed that they will switch to Honda for 2018 - and hope they can remain competitive, maybe? what if Honda pull out some additional horsepower for 2018? and suddenly Toro Rosso starts to win races? very unlikely as they are and will continue to play catch up to Mercedes, Ferrari and now Renault.

But wait, Honda is Honda, right? but what happened to Honda?
Looking back at the history to make sense of the current status, here are the best results by Honda in Formula One, and its position in the constructor championship:

1964 - 1968: Honda competed as works team but never challenge for the championship.
1983 - 1984: Honda supplied to TAG Williams Racing Team, multiple race retirements.
1985: Canon Williams Honda Team (Honda V6 engine): 3rd in the constructor championship.
1986: Canon Williams Honda Team (Honda V6 engine): 1st
1987: Canon Williams Honda Team (Honda V6 engine): 1st
1988: Honda Marlboro McLaren (Honda V6 engine): 1st
1989: Honda Marlboro McLaren (Honda V10 engine): 1st
1990: Honda Marlboro McLaren (Honda V10 engine): 1st
1991: Honda Marlboro McLaren (Honda V12 engine): 1st
1992: Honda Marlboro McLaren (Honda V12 engine): 2nd
1993 - 1999: Honda did not supply F1 engines.
2000: Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda (Honda V10 engine): 5th
2001: B&H Jordan Honda (Honda V10 engine): 5th
2002: DHL Jordan Honda (Honda V10 engine): 6th
2003: Lucky Strike BAR Honda (Honda V10 engine): 5th
2004: Lucky Strike BAR Honda (Honda V10 engine): 2nd
2005: Lucky Strike BAR Honda (Honda V10 engine): 6th
2006: British American Racing (Honda V8 engine): 4th
2007: British American Racing (Honda V8 engine): 8th
2008: British American Racing (Honda V8 engine): 9th
2009 – 2014: Honda did not supply F1 engines.
2015: McLaren Honda (Honda V6 engine): 9th
2016: McLaren Honda (Honda V6 engine): 6th
2017: McLaren Honda (Honda V6 engine): TBD.
2018: Toro Rosso (Honda V6 engine): TBD.

Back in 1986, Honda engines dominated the V6 engine market, it was the time that the Japanese manufacturers shined for their compact and small engines in comparison with other car manufacturers. Honda was able to maintain its leadership during the switch to V10 and even V12, but then left the scene for 7 long years. When it came back, it had a hard time to conquer glory again. It even establish a works team with British American Racing but left the scene with only 1 win by Jenson Button at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.

As Formula 1 moved to smaller engines (V6), Honda re-entered the championship hoping for a repeat of the 1980s but it never happened. Mercedes engine superiority prove too much for the Japanese manufacturer, it now parted ways with McLaren but will continue their venture with Toro Rosso for the 2018 season.

The Golden Years at McLaren Honda:

McLaren-Honda-The-Golden-Years

There are still more races to go this 2017, maybe... maybe... we can see that Honda power again?

Posted on September 16, 2017

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