McLaren: No regrets over "expensive" Honda split

McLaren's chairman insists the team did the right thing in splitting with Honda this year, even though the "expensive" call did not produce an uplift in form.

McLaren: No regrets over "expensive" Honda split
Listen to this article

Following three difficult years with the Japanese manufacturer, McLaren elected to make the switch to become Renault customers for 2018.

The decision is believed to have cost McLaren as much as a net $100 million - thanks to losing Honda's free engines and financial backing, plus having to pay for Renault's power units.

The move also exposed weaknesses within the McLaren organisation as the MCL33 under-delivered, and that led to a management reshuffle as well as the parting of ways of senior figures.

But despite the extra cost, and the fact that Honda's progress in 2018 was enough to convince rivals Red Bull about its engine, McLaren's chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa says there are no regrets about what happened.

Reflecting on his feelings about season just gone, Sheikh Mohammed, who represents the Mumtalakat investment fund of the Bahraini government that are McLaren shareholders, said: "On the one hand frustrated, on the other we are committed to this.

"The way we were heading [meant]...a change was bound to come. Tremendous respect to Honda, but the relationship wasn't working so we had a civilised discussion and we decided to part ways.

"It was an expensive decision for us but it was in the long term interest of the company. So we don't regret the decision."

With McLaren facing a difficult 2018, Sheikh Mohammed says he has taken a closer interest in the goings on at the team than he previously did.

Read Also:

"Yes I am more involved in the details and understanding," he said. "I'm a racer, so I enjoy the number crunching bits. Points of downforce, or suspension heave or whatever you want to call it."

Sheikh Mohammed says that he understands there is no quick fix to McLaren's problems, and has patience to see the matter through.

"I've been in F1 since 2000 in the paddock and we've been owners since 2007, and people say: you should change or do this," he said.

"But I've been here long enough to realise that shooting from the hip isn't the solution. It is a gradual step of informed decisions of how to fix things and we've tried to do that.

"Management's role is to manage the team. We are here to provide the resources and that is what I've kept pushing for: tell me what you need and we have agreed to support them.

"We will see this through. It is so frustrating because we are all racers at heart, but you just have to power through."

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that he thinks the team is helped by Sheikh Mohammed having a close involvement in the goings on, rather than being kept at arm's length.

"I think CEOs have different styles," explained Brown. "My style is I want to be very engaged with my chairman. So don't surprise your chairman.

"They [the Bahrainis] have such a long history in the sport that I value their input and want their input and influence. So it is very much a great working relationship.

"I think there are some CEOs who think, 'I've got the ball let me just run with it', but that has not been my style. So there are a lot of areas where Sheikh Mohammed helps and I asked for him to get involved to use his influence or seek his influence."

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33, and Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR13, go wheel-to-wheel

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33, and Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR13, go wheel-to-wheel

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

shares
comments
Ericsson feels he left F1 after "strongest" season
Previous article

Ericsson feels he left F1 after "strongest" season

Next article

Dirty Dozen: F1’s most toxic teammates – ranked!

Dirty Dozen: F1’s most toxic teammates – ranked!
Load comments
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022