...OH WHAT A TAN­GLED WEB

It’s taken six months and pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween three en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers, two driv­ers and four teams, not to men­tion a tear­ful good­bye to $100m, to an­nul the doomed mar­riage be­tween Mclaren and Honda. F1 Rac­ing sifts through the wreck­age

F1 Racing (UK) - - YOU ASK THE QUESTIONS - WORDS AN­DREW BENSON

IN THE END,

it all came down to trust, faith and con­fi­dence – or the lack of them. Dur­ing the three years they spent with Honda as their en­gine part­ner, Mclaren were “bleed­ing”, as one se­nior team mem­ber puts it, and they felt they had to ex­tri­cate them­selves from the failed re­la­tion­ship. Do­ing so proved more dif­fi­cult than they could ever have en­vis­aged. A de­ci­sion ini­tially made in March, when it be­came abun­dantly clear just how much trou­ble Honda were in, fi­nally came to a res­o­lu­tion in Septem­ber. Six months of ne­go­ti­a­tions, which in­volved three en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers, four teams, and two driv­ers. And in the end, Mclaren have waved good­bye to a net $100m and swapped the worst en­gine in For­mula 1 for the sec­ond worst. Or third best, to look at it an­other way. At the same time, Red Bull have loaned one of their driv­ers to a ri­val and Honda have found a place to de­velop out of the spot­light – only to in­vite it right back onto them­selves, thanks to their im­prob­a­ble claim that they are aim­ing for the “top three on the grid” with new part­ner Toro Rosso. Why did it hap­pen? How did it hap­pen? And what are the prospects for Mclaren, Re­nault, Toro Rosso and their own­ers Red Bull, Car­los Sainz, and, last but not least, Fer­nando Alonso?

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