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Nathan Houston

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McLaren-Honda

Posted: 17/05/2013 02:21

The BBC has yet again proven their insight to the future is precise and accurate when it comes to delivering breaking news about Formula 1. Way back in March of this year, the BBC F1 team revealed that McLaren were in talks with their former engine partners Honda about securing a new deal for a supply of engines.

McLaren have been supplied by Mercedes since 1995 and have won the constructors championship just once. They could have had two if it wasn't for the spy-gate scandal in 2007.

McLaren-Honda will always be remembered for the period of domination the pair held over the sport during 1988 until 1992, a period where they won four constructors titles. 1988 was a particular stand out season where Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won every race bar one for the Woking team.

With statistics in hand, it's easy to see why they have elected to go back to the Japanese manufacturers, but let's not forget Honda's chequered history in Formula 1. From 1964-1968 they won only two races before electing to pull out of the sport. They would continue to supply engines to teams but they entered a factory team from 2006-2008. Success would prove very minimal again with Jenson Button winning only one race. Then just as easy as a click of the fingers, they pulled the plug on Formula 1 yet again, leaving Button and his team mate Rubens Barrichello without a drive for the following season. Fortunately for them, Ross Brawn put money into the team and would go on to complete a fairy tale story in 2009.

It definitely seems that Honda should stick to making engines and engines alone, but F1 has moved on leaps and bounds from the late 80s/early 90s. There is so much more affecting cars now than engines, look at the mess Pirelli has got the sport in.

The deal is for 2015, which means for the first season of the brand new 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engines in 2014, McLaren will have to run whatever Mercedes gives them.

What happens though if things don't go as planned, what if McLaren do become the new Williams (an article you must read by my friend over at Let's Talk F1) and become a former shadow of themselves? They are very happy to end any relationship with F1 if things don't go their way. It's a very big risk and as this season has shown, big risks do not pay off for McLaren.

One of the other worries I have is that they want to keep on Jenson Button for this new era. I've had some issues with Jenson's attitude this season but setting them aside for the moment, by the time this deal comes I reckon there will be plenty of thriving talent from other drivers. Paul di Resta, the Toro Rosso boys, even Jules Bianchi in the Marussia looks good. If they are hell bent on making this an entirely new era then I say ditch Jenson. He's a great driver and a phenomenal talent, but there isn't another title fight in him. His luck unfortunately ran out with Lewis Hamilton as his team mate, and Adrian Newey gifting Red Bull with title wins for three years.

Don't get me wrong, he's made his own mistakes but the point I am trying to make is that a fresh perspective in driving should be accompanied by fresh driver line up.

In my eyes, the move is too risky. I've said it many times before but 2014 will be a lottery in terms of who will be on top. I'm going with Renault because they seem to be the only engine manufacturer who have made progress, and with them looking to supply less teams in 2014, the demand will be fierce.

I personally would have shelved the idea of bringing in a new deal with Honda. History looks good but it has also been brief and not looking great in the long term. Stability is what McLaren need, I fear with Honda they may not get it.

 

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