F1 Analysis: Why McLaren's partnership with Renault is a win-win situation for nearly every party involved in F1
After what has felt like years of speculation and rumours, we finally have got the confirmation that McLaren are indeed partnering with Renault. As this happens, the existing partnership of McLaren and Honda will come to an end. This makes it the first time that McLaren and Renault are linking up in Formula 1 in their 40-year history in F1. Honda will partner Toro Rosso as they stay in F1 even after termination of their deal with McLaren. This article focuses on the effects this deal is likely to have on the concerned parties.
With diminishing performances, there is no doubt that the brand of McLaren has taken a major hit in the last three years. In 2015, even with two world champions as their drivers, they were only in front of Marussia in the constructor's standings. 2016 saw an improvement but not enough as they were only able to only secure the sixth position. 2017 saw a major overhaul in the Power Unit design from Honda. This was the year in which they were expected to take the big step to be among the front-runners, but they have apparently taken a step backward and now they find themselves just ahead of Sauber with a meagre 11 points.
Ron Dennis claimed that it is not possible to win the championship with a customer engine and that is why the McLaren-Honda deal was done in the first place. At that moment, it seemed like an understandable decision. As it turned out, there were lofty expectations from Honda as you would think but they have massively underachieved on the PU side during this partnership as witnessed recently in the Belgian Grand Prix and the Italian Grand Prix.
So, to recover the brand value and attract sponsors, McLaren, along with Renault as their engine partners, go hunting for podiums and possibly wins. In the past, they have continuously impressed upon the reporters and media that their chassis is not at fault for their position rather it is the Power Unit which is dragging their car performance down. As they now have a more competitive Power Unit, they will get to show their prowess and whether they can really match Red Bull or even better them with the same engine.
Moreover, they have maximised their chances of retaining the services of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso who has consistently emphasised upon the fact that he doesn't want to compete just for a top-10 position; rather he wants to be a regular feature on the podium. With a driver of the Spaniard's capabilities and skills, they will be able to harness better performances from their 2018 package.