McLaren hint they have no choice but to stay with Honda in 2018

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The latest comments by McLaren executive director Zak Brown have suggested the British team may have no choice but to stay with Honda for 2018.

It is no secret McLaren has been weighing up their options to end their partnership with the Japanese manufacturer at the end of what has arguably been the worst of the three years the two parties have had together since re-teaming in 2015.

A return to former partner Mercedes has long been touted as, in recent weeks, has the possibility of a remarkable tie-up with Ferrari, which for those that know F1 history is just... mind-boggling.

However, these option now appear to be becoming less and less likely with Brown telling Sky Sports earlier this week: "We're a big team that knows how to win races and championships so I think most of the teams, while it's a shame to see where we are, they like us where we are. They don't want to get us too close to them which is understandable."

Those words are practically identical to those Red Bull bosses were saying less than two years ago when they were contemplating leaving Renault, with Horner reportedly claiming Brown had told him "he thought he was watching the same movie that we lived through".

But what this does prove is, while many have questioned the decision of McLaren to go with Honda in the first place, it was absolutely the right thing to do and remains as such even if the results now are not as hoped.

Recently exiled former CEO Ron Dennis said at the time of the deal with Honda that it was impossible for a customer team to win in modern F1 and you only have to look at the top three teams and the gap to the rest to know that is absolutely accurate.

Red Bull could well be eventually forced to change supplier, not through a lack of performance from Renault, but perhaps the opposite should the Enstone-based works team eventually return to the front.

Once upon a time, it used to be enough for these manufacturers to simply be the badge on a championship-winning Williams, McLaren or Benetton now that has changed and it would be seen as an insult for another team to beat the works team even if the name of the car read McLaren-Mercedes.

What could change that is if Honda do get their act together and McLaren started to be competitive or, when the next specification engines come in 2021, a Red Bull Porsche or Williams Cosworth suddenly began to succeed.

It will need a new engine supplier to come in and beat the current establishment to improve the competitiveness of the F1 grid. Until then we can only hope that maybe aerodynamics could help play a role but then again Force India, Haas and Williams can't just spend a few million pounds, dollars or Euros to bring a new front wing to each race.