McLaren reaching 'fork in the road' with 'lost' partner Honda

Fernando Alonso will stay at McLaren-Honda if the team wins by September, but has refused to give a more definitive answer on his plans for 2018. He's one of the best drivers on the grid, but he's stuck with Honda's unreliable, underpowered power unit in his McLaren, effectively rendering him noncompetitive.

He said: "Missing upgrades, and upgrades not delivering to the level we were told they were going to, you can only take that so long".

"So if the calendar stays between 20 or 21, so this range that we know from the last couple of years, I will be happy to continue". Winning by September is not on the cards for McLaren and his options to go elsewhere are extremely limited but he insisted he would move on.

He said: "I understand everything Fernando is saying and I tend to agree with him".

"What we want to see now is it work".

Brown, who replaced Ron Dennis at the McLaren helm a year ago, added: "Our preference is to win the world championship with Honda".

Brown said the reality was that McLaren had lost some big, long-term sponsors and significant prize money in the last three years. That's what I came to McLaren to win - and now after three years we are not winning.

The two-time F1 champion from Spain said Thursday he is busy enough with a 20-race schedule. "If it's increasing, like NASCAR, that they have 40 or 50 races, it's not for me". The news comes soon after it was revealed that Honda had failed to complete a crucial engine upgrade package in time for this weekend's Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix.

Hamilton trails Vettel by 25 points in the standings but crucially in his attempt to win a fourth title Hamilton has struggled with his set-up twice this season and he and Mercedes need to identify the issues if he is to keep Vettel in sight.

"The first grand prix after the summer break (Belgium) is the limit for Brown and [Eric] Boullier, although they already expect to be competitive by Hungary", the report says.

Bratches said: "We are in conversations with the British Grand Prix and the team there and we are optimistic of having a long-term future of having a grand prix in Great Britain". "We have done some analysis but we will find whether or not there are new things we can improve on this weekend". The frustration has been evident for the Spaniard who won the 2005 and '06 championships with Renault.

The stoppage acts as the latest setback for Alonso and the McLaren-Honda project, and comes amid speculation in the paddock that the two companies could be set to part ways at the end of the year.

  • Julie Sanders