After three years of struggling with the Japanese marque, McLaren has dumped Honda and will be powered by customer Renault engines from next season.
Honda is moving to the junior Red Bull team Toro Rosso, with official Dr Helmut Marko saying things are “looking up”.
Indeed, Stoffel Vandoorne told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF that Malaysia had been “my best performance since I was in F1, after qualifying and racing his McLaren-Honda to seventh.
So the obvious question to ask is how McLaren will feel if it turns out that the British team dumped its works partner just as Honda finally makes a breakthrough.
“Obviously if Honda starts to win in 2018 and we’re not, we will look silly,” McLaren executive Zak Brown is quoted by the Spanish daily Marca.
“But I think everyone has to make their decisions and then accept the outcome.
“I think the moment you make any decision there is always an element of ‘What if I’m wrong?’ But I think everyone has done their homework and it was a group decision that was not easy,” Brown said.
“It’s like Indianapolis. Some said ‘What if Alonso is injured?’ ‘What if we lose a great opportunity in Monaco?’ But fortunately he (Alonso) drove perfectly and Jenson (Button) started from the pitlane.
“We have to look forward and not back,” Brown added.
However, works Honda MotoGP rider Marc Marquez is not so sure McLaren has made a wise choice in dumping the Japanese.
“I think they knew from the beginning that it was a long-term project,” he is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
“McLaren knew this could happen even if Honda is one of the most powerful brands in the world. I hope it does turn out that McLaren’s decision is hasty and that Honda is the best in both motorcycles and cars,” he added.