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McLaren right to drop Honda because the 'relationship wasn't working'

Written by  Nov 27, 2018

McLaren chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa has defended the decision to drop Honda after the 2017 season.

The Woking-based team endured a tough three seasons with the Japanese manufacturer after re-kindling their once highly successful partnership in 2015, as poor performance and reliability left them trailing down the order.

A move to Renault units for this year was meant to spark new life into McLaren but instead, it has done the opposite with the team finishing only ahead of Williams in the pecking order after another difficult year.

On the contrary, Honda has rebounded showing great progress with Toro Rosso and will now supply Red Bull too, starting from 2019.

“It was in the long-term interests of the company,” Mohammed was quoted by PlanetF1 on Tuesday. “We are committed to this [path with Renault]. The way we were heading [with Honda], the change was bound to come.

“[I have] tremendous respect for Honda but the relationship wasn’t working and so we had a civilised discussion and we decided to part ways,” he added.

“We will see this through. [It is] frustrating because we are racers at heart, but you just have to power through.”

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The chairman also believes the worst is now behind McLaren with this year's problems simply discovered too late to address properly.

“We’re confident we know why we haven’t been able to develop this year’s car, there is a fundamental problem, [but] we think we’ve addressed it," Mohammad said.

“Had we discovered that in April we would have had a B car but it was too late.

“I don’t know if we want to disclose what we have discovered and why but we have taken steps, and the development of next year’s car has helped us understand what went wrong here.”

Next season, McLaren will have an all-new line-up with young driver Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz behind the wheel while Stoffel Vandoorne heads to Formula E and Fernando Alonso retiring though will compete at the Indianapolis 500 in a McLaren entry.

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