McLaren-Honda Split: 10 Defining Moments of the Failed Partnership

The fall of the McLaren-Honda saga was a slow and inevitable one. Follow CLICKON Motorsport as we look back at the top 10 defining moments of the tragic downfall.

10. The Debut

It would be tempting to say that the partnership began to slip somewhere along the line, but that wouldn’t be true. The team effort showed its first signs of strain right out of the gate. The 2014 debut test saw McLaren’s challenger fork-lifted and towed back to the pits after an unsuccessful run.

9. The Second Chance – 2015 Opener

With its second attempt at Melbourne at hand, the deficit of the Honda power unit became evident. Three seconds off the pace off of Mercedes in Q1 and suffering five seconds off of Hamilton’s lap time at the pole didn’t paint a pretty picture.

8. Grid Penalties Galore

In an attempt to improve on the beleaguered package, Honda and McLaren resorted to swapping out parts galore. A tradition that lasted well into 2017 and saw the McLaren drivers incur more than hundreds of grid place penalties over the years.

#F1NightRace vibes. 🎇 📸: @darrenheathphotographer #McLaren #F1 #SingaporeGP

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7. The Beginning of Alonso’s Outbursts

Alonso is a commanding figure in F1 precisely for the reason that he won’t hesitate to shout over publicly broadcast radio just what he thinks of the power package. Hearing “GP2 Engine” repeated live during Honda’s 2015 home race did not paint a pretty picture for the Japanese manufacturer.

6. A Small Recovery

McHonda managed a better result in 2016, and the team seemed to be on their way up. Attitudes were far better than the previous year, although the results were nothing to write home about for such a storied team.

5. Horrendous Winter Testing

Whatever improvements they managed to make seemed all but lost during the pre-season tests at Barcelona. The drivers barely managing to get out on the track and collect data for the team due to the persistent MGU issues both cars experienced.

4. Endless Engine Changes

With time running short and McLaren reaching the end of its patience, Honda forced one power unit swap after another. And as such, cue up another endless stream of grid place penalties.

#SingaporeGP close-ups courtesy of @darrenheathphotographer. 🇸🇬👌 #McLaren #F1 #F1NightRace

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3. McLaren’s First Points Finish of 2017 is Praised

Taking the once-legendary team half of a season to reach the points was nothing short of incredible. After a first half of the season being relegated to an extended in-season test, having praised tossed at them for securing points was the last thing McLaren wanted to feel.

2. Brown on Honda: “They seem a bit lost”

Although the comment would be disputed by Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa, the writing was on the wall. McLaren had enough – and they wanted out. Despite several months going by until McLaren formally announced its decision to end the partnership, Brown’s public comments was the proof in the pudding.

1. The entire 2017 season

While not much of a defining moment, the entire torrid last year of the partnership’s struggles is the tragically perfect way to underscore the entire McHonda era. With all of the flak the project garnered over the years, it was finally time to put it to rest. Goodnight, sweet prince.