Remember The Rocky McLaren-Honda Relationship? They Could Be Getting Back Together – WTF1

Remember The Rocky McLaren-Honda Relationship? They Could Be Getting Back Together

McLaren fans, cover your ears, eyes and probably your mouths because there might be a couple of swear words after hearing this news. Remember the not-so-great relationship between McLaren and Honda? Yeah, like toxic exes, they may get back together. 

The Race has revealed that early talks have happened between McLaren and Honda about pairing up again in 2026.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have seen that Red Bull Powertrains has struck up a deal with Ford, where they’ll partner together on the development of the next-gen hybrid power units that supply engines for both Alpha Tauri and Red Bull.

Alongside that, you may have noticed that Honda was on the list of manufacturers registered to supply engines in a couple of years. Although registering doesn’t mean it’s a binding agreement, it did leave fans wondering what their plans are for 2026.

Suggestions included bringing in their own team and backing Andretti with their hopeful entrant onto the grid. But it seems like a McHonda return really could happen.

Any conversations over a reunion are believed to be in an extremely early phase as Honda weighs up committing to being an engine supplier under the new regulations and who it may partner with.

McLaren and Honda worked together at the start of the V6 turbo-hybrid era from 2015 to 2017, and let’s say it didn’t end well. Their partnership actually ended early because of poor engine performance and reliability which led to increased tensions. Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, is probably looking at all of his options available. For example, he’s understood to have visited the Red Bull Powertrains facility, too.

It could also be possible that these talks are a huge decoy, and McLaren could simply continue with their current supplier, Mercedes – a partnership that was revived in 2021 and has been relatively successful.

If things do go forward, they could be very different than before. But, previous experiences do not give me much hope 🥲

Do you think McLaren and Honda would make a good partnership again?

3 thoughts on “Remember The Rocky McLaren-Honda Relationship? They Could Be Getting Back Together

  • Well, there’s no temperamental Spaniard behind the McLaren wheel, so this partnership could work at least a bit better.

  • Honda will have to play catch-up again so McLaren will end up going backwards again!
    It would be great to see more engine supplies in F1 we need more competition to shake up the pecking order I’m tired of listening to wolf and Horner bickering let’s see some real action on the tracks like the good old days

    • Derek Nickels says:

      I actually think McLaren have to show they have changed and can be sensible in their demands. Honda won’t have problems like the mid 2000’s because they won’t be demanded to supply the PU a year early before being ready with it, most don’t know the first PU wasn’t supposed to be racing until 2016 and Ron Dennis demanded it for 2015 and demanded too much of a concentration on the size zero concept in the belief their aero “was as good as Anything else out there, if not better” line which they harped on until they were shown severely wanting when they took the Renault PU and were then in a direct aero and chassis performance comparison with Red Bull and Renault. The bottom line is that McLaren ruined the Honda tie up, not Honda themselves ultimately, the only thing they did wrong was saying yes to running a year early and not making McLaren wait for 2016. With extra dyno time they would have discovered their issue’s that would be found on the race track and had McLaren listened and conceded size zero was not achievable, things would have got better for 2016 and on, not worse, the proof of that is what they’ve done with Adrian Newey to integrate the PU into the chassis. He asked them what they needed to make the car competitive and reliable and they didn’t over promise the speed of improvement, it came because they were allowed to do their work without recrimination and in conjunction with Torro Rosso and then Red Bull as well, not just for them, it was a partnership, not an autocracy and it showed.

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