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2017 F1

Honda says McLaren F1 relationship is ‘very strong’

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Honda has hit back at reports its works McLaren collaboration is on the road to tatters.

Recently, McLaren did not categorically deny speculation that, in the wake of a dire winter with the new Honda power unit, it has been in contact with Mercedes about the possibility of an engine switch.

But now, the veteran F1 correspondent Roger Benoit quotes Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa as responding: “Of course we are not where we want to be.

“But our partnership is very strong. We are completely with McLaren,” the Japanese is quoted by the Swiss newspaper Blick.

Benoit also writes that, while Fernando Alonso’s trip to Australia was at least smooth, the same cannot be said of championship favourite Sebastian Vettel.

The journalist was on the same flight from Switzerland to Melbourne via Dubai as the Ferrari driver as well as Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein.

“That’s a good start,” Vettel joked to Benoit as the plane was delayed due to technical trouble.

There was then another delay before landing in Dubai, meaning the passengers missed the scheduled connecting flight and all trace of their luggage.

“It’s the second time my luggage has not arrived with me in Melbourne,” Vettel shrugged.

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