“It’s a shame McLaren no longer continued with Honda”


Former Formula 1 driver Jenson Button says it is a shame that McLaren no longer continued with engine supplier Honda. The two parties split up after difficult years, but in 2021 it turned out that Honda did indeed have the potential to become world champion.

“I was there when this V6 project started and it wasn’t easy for them,” Button said of Honda to Motorsport.com. Button, the 2009 world champion, drove for McLaren-Honda in 2015 and 2016 and, like Fernando Alonso, had little success. “In the hybrid era they struggled, they had just gotten back into Formula 1,” Button continues. “Of course they were a few years behind the competition. There were a lot of reliability issues.”

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Those problems worsened the relationship between McLaren and Honda. It eventually ended in a divorce and McLaren opted for the Renault power source in 2018 and not much later switched to the Mercedes engine. “It’s a shame McLaren didn’t go ahead with Honda,” Button reflects. “It was very easy for them (McLaren) to point the finger when they weren’t competitive. They pointed to the most unreliable part and that was the power unit.”

Also read: Despite farewell with title: ‘Staying in F1 was never an option for Honda’

Despite the setbacks, Honda kept going. It continued its Formula 1 project at Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) and after a good season Red Bull also decided to switch to the Honda. It did not immediately yield the desired successes for Red Bull, but in 2021 everything fell into place and Max Verstappen was able to conquer the title. “It seems that they have found a good partnership with Red Bull. It was nice to see Honda win again, as their last win before the Red Bull era was in 2006,” Button concluded.

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