Jul.29 (GMM) McLaren has its fingers crossed Honda will agree an engine deal for 2018 with the Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso.
That is the claim of Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, as the crisis at the hapless McLaren-Honda works collaboration continues in Hungary.
McLaren has been in talks with Mercedes and Ferrari about switching to a customer engine deal for 2018, but both manufacturers have reportedly said no.
“We just want a competitive engine next year,” a McLaren source told the German publication. “If Honda can solve its problems, we’ll be with Honda.”
But for now, correspondent Michael Schmidt reports that McLaren is actually “hoping for a Toro Rosso-Honda deal”.
That is because if Toro Rosso signs with Honda, the second Red Bull team’s Renault deal would be freed up and available for McLaren to take over.
Sauber was set to become a Honda customer for 2018, but new team boss Frederic Vasseur cancelled it.
Honda’s Masashi Yamamoto said afterwards: “Honda’s passion for motor sports and strong commitment to formula one remains unchanged.”
But if McLaren dumped Honda without Toro Rosso lining up with Japanese-made engines for 2018, F1 would lose a manufacturer.
Schmidt said: “The FIA will not agree to a (McLaren) engine change that drives Honda out of formula one.”