McLaren executive director Zak Brown insists he would work with Honda again in the future, despite the disappointment of the past three seasons.
Honda returned to Formula 1 a year after the current power unit regulations were introduced and duly struggled to reach the same level as Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. A poor start to this season ultimately led to McLaren terminating the partnership early, but Brown says it hasn’t ruined his confidence in the Japanese manufacturer.
“Ultimately we knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona, and we worked really hard for six months to try and find some solutions that give us some confidence that we would be much more competitive in 2018,” Brown told Sky Sports. “Ultimately after trying many different things, many different ways, all of which were reported on, we felt that we couldn’t get there.
“Three years is a long time in Formula 1 so we needed to change directions to get our team back on top. The decision we made is one we believe is the right one for McLaren.
“We are grateful to Honda. They’re a great company, with great people, and the relationship was always strong. The relationship still is strong. Wouldn’t rule out racing with them again, wish them the best but we needed to make some tough decisions to do what’s in our best interest.”
Asked to clarify he would go back to work with Honda again in future, Brown replied: “Oh of course, absolutely.
“They’re a great company, we’ve won a few world championships with them, they know what they’re doing. For a variety of reasons, kind of didn’t get it right this time. But we’ve maintained a good relationship, so definitely never say never in this sport.”
And Brown believes his predecessor Ron Dennis would have made the same decision to end the Honda contract early despite the past success between the two partners.
“Yeah I think he would have [changed engine supplier]. He was here when those conversations were going, and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interest of McLaren. In his heart he is Mr McLaren, and I think it burns him inside, as much as us, to see that we’re not winning races.”