McLaren F1 team and Honda are now on the verge of Formula 1 divorce.
That is the sensational claim of Germany’s Auto Bild, as the Anglo-Japanese team’s nightmare collaboration continued in Spain with a first-lap practice failure for Fernando Alonso.
After that disastrous session, McLaren owner Mansour Ojjeh and boss Zak Brown reportedly met with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff in the Mercedes motor home.
Reportedly, they discussed a Mercedes engine deal for 2018.
“Yes, we met,” Wolff confirmed, but did not elaborate.
However, Auto Bild said a plan is being devised to save face for struggling Honda, who will reportedly announce a grand plan to work exclusively with Sauber in 2018 and beyond.
But the report said legal trouble could actually follow the split, as McLaren is bound to a long-term contract. And if Honda pursues a claim, McLaren might respond by claiming damages for loss of reputation, correspondent Ralf Bach said.
As for Sauber’s new Honda deal, one rumour is that the Japanese manufacturer could seek to finally improve in F1 by getting assistance from field leader Mercedes and the independent engine specialist Avl.
“We are not doing anything for Honda. That is the current status quo,” said Wolff in Barcelona.
“So unless that situation changes, I don’t want to contribute to rumours out there that I think are damaging for Honda. We’ll see what happens.”