Robert Kubica, Carlos Sainz Jnr, 2017

Blow for Kubica? Sainz tipped for Renault move

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Carlos Sainz Jnr is tipped to take the second Renault seat alongside Nico Hulkenberg which would end Robert Kubica’s chances of racing for the team in 2018.

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Levente says drivers shouldn’t be forced to go through Formula Two to reach F1.

This whole, making F2 a prerequisite to be able to graduate to F1 thing is just a usual money herding, greedy business decision.

In the business world it’s common. If you have a desirable product, for example an industrial software solution, they make you pay more by requiring to buy even another product (which is not really able to compete with in its own field) that you already could substitute with a better solution.

Imagine if there is a high talent trashing the Super Formula field, than he or she must go back one year to an inferior series to be able to graduate to F1.
Levente (@Leventebandi)

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135 comments on “Blow for Kubica? Sainz tipped for Renault move”

  1. Hopefully the Honda engines slow torro Rossi enough to give dauber some competition next year

    1. Love them Daubers! ;)

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        10th September 2017, 2:50

        And them torro Rossi’s!

        1. Is that the sister team of Red Ball?

          1. Red Ball Rocking i meant…

  2. Thanks racing gods for ending the Sainz hypewagon.

    Hulk is going to show just how overrated he is.

    1. I think that’s the reason why I don’t believe Sainz jr is leaving STR. I know it makes tremendous sense for the McLaren thing to happen but I don’t think he would risk his career. I don’t know how much heavier and taller Hulk is but I don’t think he’ll match him.

      1. @peartree Don’t you think staying at Torro Rosso with their new Honda PU supply contract would be a much bigger career risk. Sainz already made clear he though he needed a way out of the Red Bull pathway and to me this makes sense.

        It looks like Renault obviously think he’s a better bet than either Alonso or Kubica and presumably they have enough information to make that call better than us.

    2. @faulty. The same Hulk that was spanked by Perez?

      1. Considering that in the 3 years they spent together, Perez only scored 12 points more than Hülkenberg despite having 3 podiums, and Hülkenberg having substantially more retirements due to circumstances out of his control, I’d say he was hardly spanked.

        1. Shh, stop speaking logic.

          1. I thought you were a fan of this “outscoring” mantra Hugh. Guess not when it comes to your favourite driver :)

        2. Love it how people add up the points from from different years, like that makes a lot of sense. It is likr saying that Button was better than Lewis because he had more points during the years they spent together. That is just nonsense.

          I don’t think Perez destroyed Hulk. But if there is one driver that wins that comparisson, it is certainly Perez

          1. @johnmilk Very narrowly if so. And SP got beaten on qualy pace every season by NH. So, I saw this as an even contest all in all.

            Agree on Button. Button beat LH for one season in 2011 when LH had his worst ever year in F1. Button got beaten in both 2010 and 2012, lost to LH every year in qualy(even 2011), yet because the overall points tally 3 years combined he was 4 points ahead of LH people somehow think that he was on par or better with LH which is totally illogical.

          2. @johnmilk

            It is the points that count. Fans of “spectacular” drivers with peaky performance curves may not like it, but qualification speed and breathtaking overtakes are not worth anything when they don’t lead to more points. Any other method of comparing drivers is not comparing the drivers complete skillset (including things like avoiding incidents, driving to strategy, perseverance), but only a part of the skills, often the more salient ones.

          3. Sven I agree- “its the points that count” over the season. Had Button outscored Lewis throughout all three seasons….

            Its just like how Prost “outscored” Senna. But they had 1 championship apiece.

            Speaking of which- could you point me to the FIA Regulation that says cumulative points over the years are some sort of metric in F1 and furthermore, what the price is for that.

          4. “Any other method of comparing drivers is not comparing the drivers complete skillset”

            I would say- to get a more realistic picture you need to look at a wide range of stats. But if you insist on using just one-

            I think a head to head in a two car finish is the most accurate as it eliminates points lost through mechanical failures which aren’t a reflection of driver ability.

          5. Yes, Button totaled more points over 3 seasons. But how many more wins, poles, and fastest laps did Hamilton have over Button? How many times did Lewis qualify ahead of Jenson? A lot more. I would rather have those stats and hardware than points any day of the week unless it lead to a championship. Did Button win a championship with Hamilton as a teammate? No. I am not a Lewis fan, but he did a lot better against Jenson those 3 years when you look at all the numbers, not just points.

          6. @crammond

            Any other method of comparing drivers is not comparing the drivers complete skillset

            So by that logic Kvyat is better than Vettel, because Kvyat beat Riccardo on points in 2015 who beat Vettel on points in 2014.

    3. I don’t think Sainz is overated often. He is clearly very talented. I think a top seat would be reasonable if one was available.

      The problem is the top teams are happy and there are other very good drivers.

      Like the rest of this deal it doesn’t seem compelling.

      1. @slotopen Why not? Renault are a factory team on an upward curve. If Sainz can’t get into one of the top 3 teams then it’s the best move for him. Better than treading water in the STR, surely?

      2. @slotopen Sainz is clearly talented. Performed quite well against Verstappen and is clearly performing better than Kvyat who was regarded as a talent in 2014 and 2015. Would be a close match with Hülkenberg I reckon.

    4. I think many people will be surprise by Sainz !! He will be very very fast.

      1. Not faster than the renault i hope ;)

    5. Yeah yeah, Verstappen was also overrated, yet he outperforms Ricciardo already the whole season. Sainz and Verstappen were also not that much different jn their first season.

      Do you really think Sainz is currently motivated to give 110% at STR?

      1. Verstappen outperforms Ricciardo.
        Euhm Ric has like twice the ammount of point of Ver.
        Verstappen is being shown hat it is to be a race car driver instead of a one lap wonder.

        1. Retirements

        2. Are we watching the same season? Verstappen has been consistently outperforming Ricciardo. They’ve been close, yes, but Verstappen usually edges him. Or have you forgotten that Red Bull have completed less racing laps this year than McLaren purely on account of the constant technical problems that Verstappen has had? Most of which have come from running in a high position and resulted in Ricciardo getting podiums and one win that Max might have had otherwise.

          1. I do think we are watching different races. I see Max park his car a lot, while Ric brings the car home and get the points. Results count, and not might’s and what could have’s.

          2. This season MV has shown that he can at least match and even surpass the single lap speed of DR. As of race craft he hasn’t gotten the opportunity because of all the DNFs. Then he tried to overcompensate these last few races. The boy is impatient, the situation he went trough would be hard to deal with for anyone.

            As of a the verdict I think the jury is still out there. We’ll get some fireworks for sure with some of these next races suiting the RB13 well.

            If I’d had to pick a driver right now for a championship winning car next year? Ricciardo would be my choice. He has consistently shown to have what it takes.

          3. @Bram- Harder than what Alonso is going through for the past three years at Mclaren. Yet when he allegedly parked his car in Spa everyone blasted him away! I think Verstappen is just impatient in general and expects things to go 100% the way he wants them to! Unreal expectations in F1! The boy needs some patience and success will follow!

        3. F Truth (@offdutyrockstar)
          11th September 2017, 9:52

          Gotta love fans with blind loyalty who use points as a metric for performance and pretend reliability isn’t a thing. ��😂��

    6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      10th September 2017, 8:16

      Although I sometimes think Hulkenberg is a little overrated, I think Sainz this season especially has been overrated far too much. He’s had several great performances but many near missed and 2 of the worst incidents out of any driver. Also being responsible for 4 drivers retiring which is more than any other on the grid this year. And collecting 2 3 place grid penalties and 4 penalty points over 4 races doesn’t look great either. Although his recovery was really good in China, he spun at the beginning and nearly crashed. Then on his attempt to rejoin, he spun again and contacted the barrier and somehow got away with it. Even his start in Baku was close to him getting damage.

      I do think he is good enough for a better team, but he is certainly not having his best season this year. I thought he was a fair bit better last year which I suppose does show he still has potential.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        10th September 2017, 8:51

        Personally I think Hulk is not overrated, if anything he is underrated considering he is 30 and never had a decent drive. His downfall (I think) is his motivation sometimes and the occasional clumsy mistake. I think the only reason Perez outperformed him (overall) was motivation. The first season Hulk was the faster and then he just kind of disappeared. When he was motivated like after winning Le Mans he went on a hot streak and blitzed Perez, also when he signed with Renault towards the end of his time with FI he blitzed Perez. I really think he’s the real deal but with a couple of flaws.

    7. Don’t you mean, it’s time Sainz put an end to Hulkenberg hype train rather?

      Keep in mind, Renault’s first choices for 2017 were Perez and Sainz — Not Hulkenberg.
      They only settled for the German because Perez thought the French outfit was still too much of a risk this year, and Sainz was held down by Helmut Marko.

      Sainz gets a lot of flak for wanting to move out of Toro Rosso, when he’s already made it clear his first priority has always been to race for the Red Bull A-Team (in fact, he’s articulated before how much Verstappen’s promotion mid-2016 stung, and how he instead used it as a motivating force). Unfortunately, 3 into 2 doesn’t go in Formula 1. And with the A-Team all but occupied for the next couple of years, is Sainz really that bad of a guy for looking elsewhere for better opportunties while he’s still very much young and capable?

      1. Unfortunately, 3 into 2 doesn’t go in Formula 1.
        Tell Monisha that.

  3. Firstly Keith I think Sainz might already be at Toro Rosso – he won’t have to wait until Malaysia…

    Secondly I was chatting with my mates and we thought HAAS would be a great fit for Kubica. Better than Magnussen, and he would give the team a personality. To me the team is a bit like their livery. Very grey. Apart from Romain complaining they are almost unseen on any weekend. Kubica would spice that team up a bit. Do it Gene!

    1. K-Mag has contract until the end of 2018

    2. Problem with Kubica is the type of marketing that could be associated with him and the sort of sponsors that are currently spending in F1.

      On a sports level he would be great for a team like Haas like you said, or Williams who need their expertise.

      But I don’t think Martini can afford to have associations to someone who suffered visible physical disabilities from a car crash. Red Bull, for example could really use the “there are no limits to what you can do” with their target audience. Financial institutions or tech companies would be no problem, Robert looks business smart, but they are not spending in F1 sponsorship ATM.

      1. I actually think someone coming back to F1 despite suffering visible physical disabilities from a car crash would resonate well with Williams.

        Here’s hoping they replace Massa with Kubica.

        1. That’s a good point, Kubica in a Williams (that hopefully will have found some magic fairy dust from Paddy Lowe to go somewhere better than currently) would be great Buj

          I am not sure that you are right @faulty, it was after all due to a rally, not commuter traffic, no alcohol even remotely involved. If Kubica is really as good at feedback as Renault indicate he is, he sounds like a very good guy for Williams, and I can also see him do classy Martini ads.

          1. Regretfully, I do not believe we will see Kubica back in F1, as I just don’t see any team having 100% confidence in him. As has been said however, it would be something of a marketing coup to announce him in a team. but F1 is all about money, they are the hard facts and all teams want to maximise race points as they equal millions. If Robert can convince a team of his ability to score regular points, then it may happen, but if not, I’m afraid it won’t on a half chance. We should remain hopeful though…

          2. Kubica to Williams is a feel-good story at best right now, but given the significance of that particular team giving that particular driver a chance to make a proper comeback is something I’m crossing my fingers for.

            Not sure if it’s a credible source (most likely not), but one can hope.

    3. What! Actually MAG is having better pace than GRO and is very young too.. he missed a couple of points but he could have been in front with some more luck and if GRO had the unluck…. MAG is very young – a year younger than GIO who still hopes for a seat..MAG is in his 5.th season…tells you about his talent & skills.. I would keep MAG for any price as he brings the future…give him 2 year more and then he could become one of the best…

      1. In his 5th season and still making stupid mistakes and drives inconsistent.
        On top of that he is having a hard time keeping his head cool on and off the track.
        1 more year at Haas, then his F1 career is over.

      2. @Nunu Actually, Gio is younger than K-Mag.

  4. So Sainz is happy, McLaren and Alonso will be happy, and Renault is okay too. But what does Red Bull / Toro Rosso get out of this? They lost Sainz, gained Honda engines, and now have McLaren-Renault to worry about.

    I can’t help think that there was some pretty lucrative financial deal done behind the scenes here. Maybe as someone speculated, Red Bull would have access to Honda if they actually come good, but I can’t see anyone actually believing that will happen.

    1. STR-TAG Heuer, RBR-TAG in a few years? :p

    2. I was thinking the same thing … but who has paid Red Bull is also confusing.

      Are Honda paying in order to remain in F1 without McLaren being forced to stay with them, or even as a penalty for not meeting targets … are McLaren paying to buy out Sainz’s contract to free up a seat for a Honda driver, and is Sainz going to Renault or have they insisted on Fernando being part of the deal – with Sainz his replacement at McLaren?

      Or maybe Red Bull are just fortunate to be in a position to have a junior team that isn’t results driven as much as it’s a stepping stone for future drivers & staff … so their risk vs reward by going with Honda is a worthwhile gamble. And they do need to find a place for Gasly, so maybe it just made sense?

    3. STR is probably going to receive a little bit of money and RB is going to have an alternative for the future. In the meantime handing Sainz doesn’t make sense, unless they get some money with it.

    4. The way I see it, Red Bull/Toro Rosso are the big gainers and McLaren are the losers in this deal.
      RB/TR get some payment from Honda (like Honda was giving McLaren) and they also get a chance at being a manufacturer team (while I acknowledge they would be manufacturer with the weakest engine; with Renault, they were never going to be a manufacturer).

      In the process, they lose Sainz. Now, not sure if they have truly lose Sainz or will he be on loan to Renault; but with Ricciardo and Verstappen already with them, do they really need Sainz as well? Yes, there is a chance of Ricciardo and Verstappen being snapped by Mercedes or Ferrari. But remember that Hamilton and Vettel both may try to block those deals. Additionally, if LeClerc and Ocon come good, then Mercedes and Ferrari will prioritise those two over the Red Bull drivers. Hence, even higher chances that Red Bull won’t lose their drivers. So, why hold on to Sainz.

      In today’s F1, there are about 12-15 good drivers in F1 with few waiting in the wings. But there are just 3 decent engines, 1 terrible engine and none waiting in the wings. So, if you get a chance at being a manufacturer team, losing one driver as part of the deal is actually alright considering the demand and supply characteristics. That seems to be what Red Bull is doing and it makes sense.

      McLaren on the other hand are prioritising driver over engine which is a very short term view and hence, I truly believe they are the losers in this arrangement.

    5. @gitanes Easily explained. RBR are fed up with Renault. Since they have a guinea pig second team they can afford to be patient and hope that eventually Honda will get their act together and then RBR will be a factory team. And if not, well they might lose some prize money for STR(which losses Honda might compensate), but STR’s results aren’t the main thing anyway. They’re there to give Red Bull juniors a drive in F1.

      1. Yeah I can see your point, but amid stories of the FIA and Ross doing everything in their power to get Honda to stay, I’m sure there were some aspects of the deal we’ll never hear about. And Toro Rosso finishing 9th in the Constructors standings will have a bit of an impact on the checkbook. While Honda may improve, the others will also so they’re never going to get towards the front I’m afraid.

        1. I too think Red Bull / Toro Rosso have little to win with this deal.
          They should receive a fair amount for losing Sainz and again for taking on Honda, but even then – Honda won’t help them sell cans, nor would Toro Rosso won’t help Honda sell cars.

          It has to be some deal to get this part of the mill turning.
          Of course, Toro Rosso can guinea pig Honda so if they get their act together Red Bull can have Honda engines with factory team privileges. But that is still all ‘what if’.

          If I were Honda I would be more than a little fed up with the way McLaren treated them.
          Yes, the engines were disastrous, but everyone knew it already and there was nothing Honda could do about it in a hurry. Still McLaren kept rubbing in the salt.
          Would Toro Rosso treat them better? I bet not. Were Red Bull that forgiving towards Renault?
          Honda should not provide engines for Toro Rosso unless they own it.

          So there you have it.
          If there is any truth in the news that Sainz leaves Toro Rosso for Renault, then expect a buyout of the Toro Rosso team by Honda.
          Red Bull may not need Toro Rosso that hard anymore; with Daniel and Max they have a strong driver pair for the foreseeable future, and the cars cannot share too much technology like they did when Toro Rosso was bought from Minardi, so that synergy is lost also.
          Red Bull threatened to leave the sport altogether several times. They might go halfway this time.

  5. Asked which current races do not contribute enough to survive, he said: “We love all our children! I

    More than a little patronizing by the Liberty Media Formula 1 commercial chief Sean Bratches. It would be far more productive and profitable for all if the circuit owners were treated as business partners.

    1. And I’m sure they are, behind closed doors. Which is why answering that question in the media would be a very unwise thing to do by Liberty.

  6. I find it possible that McLaren could run Renault engines next year, and I find it possible that Sainz could move to Renault (a little unlikely). But what was Dieter Rencken doing when he made up the story for that article? It’s so bad, it doesn’t hold itself together.

    If it turns out as true that Toro Rosso gave up the best of their two drivers to end an engine contract earlier to move to the worst engine supplier, it will be the bizarre story of 2017 with no close competition. Not even Sauber wanted Honda.

    Meanwhile, McLaren going from one bad engine to another while having wet dreams with a certain german ex-girlfriend.

    1. This is F1 my friend, if you think it is impossible, but ££££ would be handy, a deal can be done. Toro Rosso get more £££ that red bull don’t have to pay, and maybe honda can sort out their power unit for red bull to have a possible option for 2019 & 2020. Renault get a young driver they probably have paid nothing for, and still have a power unit supply deal with 3 teams. Honda stays in F1 & away from the pressure cooker demand for reliability and more power, now, from McLaren. Everyone is happy with this. If it true of course.

      1. I understand your post but at the moment I can’t see STR as part of “everyone” is happy. I see Sainz as a backup in case Verstappen moves to Mercedes or Ferrari.

        And you may be correct and Red Bull would enjoy reducing their costs, but I think in the big scheme of things STR brings more value to RBR fighting for points every round than riding the money from Honda at the back of the grid. You can’t really show your brands and develop your drivers if the car is uncompetitive and breaks down all the time.

    2. I think Toro Rosso is getting paid to take a massive gamble. Honda is rubbish, but there is the slimmest of slim chances that they can get their act together under Illmor and better the Renault engine. If you’re going to get paid a ton of money to take that risk, it might be worth a shot.

      Strategically, Red bull are using Toro Rosso as guinea pigs to get their factory works relationship if Honda manage to turn things around. Currently, Red bull are stuck without a choice with Renault, this at least opens up a new possibility.

      Regarding Sainz… He was going to move outside the Red bull family if he wasn’t promoted to the parent team. So, technically, Red bull didn’t really lose him as a part of the deal.

    3. Sauber is getting a decent deal running Ferrari power. Ferrari would want their young drivers to get some track time and Sauber may be getting some discount for the same which could be utilised for developing the chasis. If they had gone for Honda, no matter how good the chasis, it would not matter much with low horsepower.

      For Red Bull, it is a good solution. Torro Rosso anyway is a midfield test bench for RBR. They can benchmark two engines at the same time and measure the progress. They can also put a junior driver in place of Sainz who cannot be promoted to the main team because of the current lineup. Kyvyat may become frustrated and leave the team which opens up another seat. The downside is Mclaren may become competitive, but so can Renault. However, RBR has a TAG arrangement and are good at developing chasis. So, the immediate competition is likely to be between McLaren and Renault on chasis development if there is equal engine. There is also a remote chance that Honda may decide to have a factory team in distant future and RBR may then offload Torro Rosso for a good price.

      From Renault’s perspective, they stand to benefit from two competitive drivers, a chance to earn points from both cars and supply same number of engines. Step by step progress is what they are after and Sainz is a good bet.

      I am however skeptical about McLaren’s chances. There are near term benefits by moving to the top half of midfield, may even have the odd podium, but that is all they can be satisfied with. They will have to pay Alonso and Renault and if points are not earned consistently, financials may become tight at the end of the year.

      1. I don’t think Mclaren are worried about the long term strategy. In 2021, its a new formula again and they can plan for that era in the seasons to come. They’re fairly confident, as is almost every F1fan, that Honda isn’t a great bet for the future. There are fundamental issues with the way Honda works, which just doesn’t make them Formula 1 material in today’s day and age.

        By switching to Renault, they’ll see gains immediately. It gives them time to plan for the next era of formula 1 without destroying the team’s legacy or becoming a permanent laughing stock.

      2. I think both of these comments provide a pretty accurate assessment of the situation.

    4. @dusty Autosport doesn’t run invented stories. It’s happening. That’s for one. STR doesn’t have a say in the matter. RBR calls the shots, they own STR fully. RBR want to use STR as a guinea pig and hope that Honda engines will improve and that will make RBR a factory team. That’s a privilege you have when you own a second team and RBR doesn’t care one yota about STR’s results. Results are not their purpose anyway.

      Mclaren’s shareholders and Alonso have lost patience with Honda and their only 2 options are go to Renault or quit F1.

      Simple.

  7. The devil is in the details.

    Which we’ll never get to know.
    Even the involved parties won’t know what the other contracts said.

    1. Of course they would, maybe not all the terms of the deal, but certainly the most important ones, they relate to each party, otherwise why agree to a deal based on hunches.

  8. Didn’t read the original German article, but the translation is puzzling:
    “Sainz could arrive at Toro Rosso in time for the Malaysian Grand Prix, according to this report.”

    I don’t know the full schedule of F1’s drivers, but pretty sure that most teams prefer their drivers to arrive before the race. Can give them an edge over drivers that arrive after the race.

    Also since Toro Rosso’s Sainz arrived at Toro Rosso in time for the Italian Grand Prix and if I recall correctly, Sainz arrived at Toro Rosso in time for Spa as well there is definitely a newsworthy pattern developing. Just wish I could see it. ;-)

  9. Help me understand this, what is STR’s incentive to go for Honda and not maybe a Ferrari for example?

    1. Honda kan buy STR and make it a factory team, Mateschitz is got rid of one team so he can spend more money on other projects. Mateschitz only has to sell one team in 2021 when he quits F1.

    2. Money. Lot of money.

    3. Ferrari won’t want to give them a current engine. Remember the 2007 season where they used a 1 year old Ferrari engine?

        1. @jerejj They used year old Ferrari engines in both those seasons actually. But you are correct that I meant the later season.

          1. @aapje OK, I had forgotten that particular detail. After having double checked it, it appears that from their debut season up until 2013 they were always using the engine spec of the preceding season rather than the ‘ongoing season’s’ spec. At the time I was aware that they were using the 2005-spec (Cosworth V10) in 2006, but for the rest, I wasn’t aware until today.

    4. The only incentive for STR really is the free engines, although the cash from McLaren would help, but that is about it. One can’t but help wonder if the negatives outweigh the positives. As I understand it, the engines don’t come with gearboxes, so STR will need to find a gearbox supplier. Really, Honda should be making a gearbox that would do the job, but it’s a bit late in the day and STR won’t want to be the guinea pig.
      I’m not sure why STR would let their top driver go, it isn’t as though they need to have the Honda engine. Currently it doesn’t outperform the Renault engine. Who are they going to replace Sainz with? Alonso? I can’t see Alonso agreeing to that, after all it isn’t as though he loves Honda engines. I would have thought STR’s Number Two driver would have been an improvement for Renault, and the fresh air would have done him good, but do STR want to train a new driver?

      1. Autosport say that McLaren will supply gearboxes. STR make in house gearboxes, they don’t use Red bull gaearboxes.

        1. So STR will be using their own gearboxes. Thanks. That still leaves us wondering why STR would let their top driver go so easily? They should have let their Number Two driver go instead.

          1. Because Kvyat is not wanted by any other team? He is still in F1 only because RB can’t find a suitable replacement for their junior program (or, there’s some type of marketing deal going on to promote energy drinks in Russia). Besides, Sainz was quite vocal about wanting to leave STR, and he obviously can’t move up to RB.

    5. @neelv27 No incentive. If it was their decision they wouldn’t do it. It’s not their decision. It’s RBR’s. People everywhere are trying to analyze it from STR’s perspective forgetting that it counts for absolutely nothing at all.

    6. Step 1: TR uses Honda engines, build by Honda and Mario Ilien.
      Step 2: RBR uses the proven Honda engine in 2019
      Step 3: TR becomes Honda Racing.
      Step 4: 2021 RBR becomes Porsche F1.

      1. You know I think you are on to something!

  10. McLaren are in an impossible situation here, every option has disaster lurking.

    Stick with Honda and they may never get their act together and eventually pull out. They lose staff and Alonso, from the available drivers they have no one interested in them. How long has it been since McLaren didn’t have a world champion driving for them?

    Make the switch to Renault and they secure a customer supply of the third best power unit. Hardly the stuff of championships. They keep Alonso, but without Honda footing the bill. But worst of all they potentially hand Honda to Red Bull. Red Bull get to use their junior team for power unit development with no pressure of results.

    If McLaren stick with Honda and they never come good they’re ruined. If they switch to Renault and even if Honda still never comes good they’re consigned to the midfield. But if they switch to Renault and Honda comes good they’re making the last 3 years mean nothing, handing a rival a manufacturers backing, and still winding up with the worst power unit.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      10th September 2017, 8:56

      Great comment.

    2. @philipgb +1. This should be the next COTD.

    3. They have a champion driving for them now…

      1. I was suggesting if Alonso leaves them they won’t, and when was the last time that was the case?

    4. Yes, great comment @philipgb! Astonishingly, the last time McLaren didn’t have either a former or future WC in one of their cockpits was 1981, Ron’s first year in charge, with Watson and De Cesaris. So I agree that there is certainly a strong marketing link there.

      However, I think that McLaren are on the edge of the abyss at the moment. If they persevere with Honda they have to find a replacement for Alonso with no top talent worthy of the McLaren drive on offer. Why would anyone volunteer to go there in this predicament? They would lose a crucial element of their identity for a slim chance the package becomes competitive just before another regulation shake up. I would argue that McLaren have paid Honda more respect than they warrant during their time as partners; a knee jerk reaction would have been trying to secure Manor’s Mercedes unit for the start of this season. McLaren afforded them time and it is becoming plain to see that Honda will not be fighting for wins before 2021. McLaren would be forced to watch Mercedes and Ferrari improve their chassis and aerodynamics as McLaren still have no real idea of the fallacies in their car with a top power unit.

      I speculated on here when the Honda partnership was announced that I saw very little reason for optimism other than branding. Limiting development to one team was naive, Honda have almost no pedigree in F1 for 25 years despite several attempts and have no FE or Le Mans experience. Honda put all their eggs in one basket and the regulations since 2014 haven’t allowed them a true right of reply really.

      I expect Renault, the Works team certainly, to be fighting for the title around 2020. They have a strong history of delivering within a few years of their returns and over the past 25 years Renault engines have powered 11 constructors championships to Ferrari’s 8 and Mercedes 5. Renault certainly are a team with a positive trajectory and if McLaren can use that as a stop-gap before creating their own the they have made the best of it in my eyes.

      1. Great insightful post, thanks

      2. To some extent, Ron Dennis can be blamed for that decision – he wanted an exclusive deal with Honda, mainly because it was financially better for McLaren (Honda has mentioned in the past that they have the capacity to supply multiple teams, and indicated McLaren had blocked the deal).

      3. Incorrect, the last time was 2008.

        1. Whoops, misread what you wrote, of course Hamilton went on to be WC

    5. @philipgb There’s only 1 thing wrong with your otherwise great comment and it’s this sentence: “If they switch to Renault and even if Honda still never comes good they’re consigned to the midfield”. Why? If Mclaren manage to build a very good car they might fight for podiums and wins(WC is a long shot, true) even with the 3rd best engine. At the moment Honda are so cut adrift from the other engine manufacturers that it doesn’t matter how good a chassis Mclaren has. They might not win the championship but if they’re fighting for P3-4 in the WCC it’s still a vast improvement. Unless you considered RBR to be “midfield” as well…

      1. @montreal95

        No I’d place Renault very nearly at the pointy end of the grid. Held back by Renault being third best.

        If McLaren take Renault, they’re going to be second fiddle to the works team, and still either the third, or god forbid fourth best power unit. I can see them getting back above Williams and Force India, but still behind Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, and potentially even Renault. I can’t see them being championship contenders, they’ll be either the worst of the front of the grid, or the best of the midfield.

        1. *I mean is place Red Bull at the pointy end of the field.

          1. @philipgb I don’t think even they see themselves at the pointy end with Renault customer engines. But I can see their reasoning. Being at the tail end of the front is better than being at the tail end of the field. And for 2021, when new engine rules come into play, they can maneuver themselves back into a works team position. If the engines will be much less complicated as seems to be the case, Mclaren even have the capacity to build one themselves(and they said as much). To sum it up: I don’t know whether MCL will succeed or not, but I can see the point in their apparent strategy.

          2. @montreal95

            McLaren have maneuvered themselves into an impossible position. I think their downfall began in 2007. Getting disqualified from the constructors championship will have seriously angered Mercedes.

            Then they helped Brawn secure Mercedes power units and presented Mercedes with a tantalising prospect of a better structured team they could keep all the glory with.

            By 2012 McLaren having finally engineered the fastest car, threw the championships away with amateurish errors giving Mercedes the in they needed to poach Hamilton who Brawn described as the final piece of three jigsaw they needed.

            McLaren have been their own biggest obstacle since 2001, while other teams dominate with clockwork like operations, McLaren flounder with glimmers of promise, tainted by incompetence.

          3. @philipgb I agree withpretty much all of that. But it’s a difficult situation not an impossible one. They have the means to get out of this given sound thinking and some luck.

  11. What Renault get out of this ? Except Sainz, next season they will fight with Mc laren for 4-5 place in WCC, and Mc laren usualy make better chassis.

    1. But they already ‘fight’ with Red Bull too – in the sense that their eventual goal has to be to fight where Mercedes and Ferrrai are currently, which also means out-developing Red Bull, and now McLaren.

      For them, the good thing is, they do not need to be there next year, can benchmark their engine relative to its competition from what Red Bull, and maybe McLaren too, can do while at the same time benchmarking their chassis directly to what those two teams do.

      In that sense it doesn’t matter, yet, that they are at the moment behind either, or both in 2018, because they already knew they need to work on that aspect too; what they need is to show good progress, ie. increasing consistency and points. And they got in Sainz a driver they were interested in anyway and now don’t need to go into the unknown, or risk with Kubica, so they can actually do what the car is capable of with both drivers.

    2. Money. Honda wants Sainz out. Red Bull wants to save him in F1 at least. Honda and McLaren will pay Red Bull a lot for this move. Then Red Bull will pay Renault a bit to save Sainz career. Honda wants Nobuharu Matsushita to replace him.

      1. @regs RBR want to save Sainz’s career? Wouldn’t they kick out Kvyat then? In fact as written clearly in the article it was Renault who demanded Sainz’s services as a sweetener so they(Renault) agree to end STR’s contract for engines early.

        By the way the chances of Matsushita getting the STR seat are slim. He needs to finish top 3 in F2 to have enough super-license points but I unless Rowland and Markelov fail spectacularly he will not get there.

    3. Renault are getting an excellent driver to partner the Hulk as they move up the grid. For free, when before RBR demanded 8 million euros. Apparently they’re confident enough in their own ability as a factory team to eventually beat their customers even if it’s Mclaren. As long as they have enough funding the Enstone team is extremely capable as proven by their 4 WDC’s and 3 WCC’s in the past.

  12. This is a move made by a team that is now sadly operating with the mindset of participation as opposed to domination. McLaren are accepting also ran status with their short sightedness. I imagine 12 months from now the Honda(ilmor) PU will be spot on and teams will be queuing up rank and file to relieve Toro Rossi of their Honda supply. Of course, first dibs will go to Red Bull and Vettel will return for another 4 years of trotting to the title and McLaren will luck in to the odd podium now and then. Or something like that.

    1. I imagine 12 months from now the Honda(ilmor) PU will be spot on

      I imagine that 12 months from now I’ll be fighting for the WDC as Hamilton’s teammate. I honestly believe I have a better shot at the WDC than Honda has at making a power unit that is ‘spot on’

  13. I don’t see what Torro Rosso gets out of this deal. They lose their best driver and get an inferior engine for …. what? Did McLaren or Renault cut them a fat check?

    1. STR get nothing. their opinion doesn’t matter. They’re doing what RBR tells them to do. It’s that simple.

  14. With Gasly not being that impressive, could Honda try to place a Japanese driver in the Toro Ross seat?

    1. That’s why they want Sainz out.

    2. @paeschli Gasly not that impressive? Just won his second SF race on the trot and is within 5.5 points off the championship lead which is mighty impressive for anyone who understands SF. Likewise,chance of there being a Japanese STR driver is close to zero as at the moment no suitable driver has the points for the license and I don’t see one who can get them.

  15. So it looks more and more likely that this will happen:

    Sainz -> Renault
    Perez -> Williams
    Wehrlein -> Force India
    Leclerq -> Sauber
    Gasly -> Toro Rosso

    Which leaves Massa and Palmer without seats, and might give Kvyat an opportunity to stay. Either this scenario or Perez stays with Force India, giving Massa an extra season whilst pushing Wehrlein out of F1.

    1. What about Kubica @ Williams or replacing Perez?

    2. Force India is trying to lock down Perez as they don’t want Wehrlein. Williams need either of Massa or Perez or Kubica to satisfy the over 25 age limit of Martini.

      The way this may play out is Kubica, Gasly, Leclerc may all get in at the expense of Palmer, Massa and Wehrlein.

      1. That’s how i see it. Problem is the Ocon-Perez partnership may be impossible to continue after this season. Then everything changes.

    3. Perez and Ocon stays at FI.

      Sauber -> Leclerc & Giovinazzi
      Toro Rosso -> Gasly
      Williams -> Ericsson

      Wehrlein, Massa & Palmer out.

    4. Gasly is not a part of this. Honda is paying for this not to free a seat for Gasly, but for Matsushita.

      1. I wonder why his name is in black list here

  16. People are forgetting that this basically year 1 for the re designed Honda engine, and considering this, development rate has not been too bad. This is a great deal for STR/RB, they get money and to be a manufacturer team, Honda will continue developing without the pressure and with the help of RB until matching (or gettig pretty close) to Mercedes/Ferrari in a couple years, and Red Bull will be a serious contender for the 2019 season or so. What about McLaren? Stuck with Renault engines as a customer team fighting for 4 place in the Constructors Championship…

  17. I don’t get the whole hype about Kubica. He was a decent driver and all, but not that special either. Let alone when he comes back years later after not having driven an F1 car and with a certain degree of disability.

    For his sake I hope he gets the drive, but I don’t expect stellar results from him.

    1. Kubica never drove top car but he was set to go to Ferrari in 2012. You don’t get Ferrari drive if you are average driver. There was bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately it didn’t happened because of his accident.

  18. Mclaren-Renault, last time there was a Anglo-French cooperation they brought us the Concorde :p

    1. Doubt there will be that sort of wizardry this time round

  19. It isnot that Honda does not want Sainz at TR. Renault wants Sainz driving for them. As part of the deal, Honda engines for TR, Sainz to Renault, Renault engines to McLaren and god knows how many Honda millions to Dieter Matesitch. I think it is a good situation for McLaren to keep Alonso.
    Be aware, that Alonso may still leave McLaren and than everybody is crying again…

  20. Lol, strange dealings here. StR wants Honda, Renault does not want McLaren, unless they get a good driver… So STR pays off Rebault so McLaren can have their way…?

    1. @jureo, my feeling is that Honda is footing the bill for all this so they can stay in F1

  21. SAI would be deserving of the move up and I am neither averse to the notion of a seat consequently becoming available to Gasly at Toro Rosso nor to the potential of McLaren landing a more powerful Renault engine.

  22. RedBull is trying to use 2 engine suppliers, so they can pick the best one for the future RBR.

  23. Some of the comments suggest RBR will be using STR as an engine development team to see if they could build with Honda reliable and powerful alternative to Renault engine.

    This is all well and good, but wouldn’t they need someone experienced behind the wheel, with ability to give proper feedback to engineers in order to develop this engine to the level expected by RBR?

    Are Kvyat or Gasly up for this?

    I know that STR has always been youngsters team and this might be wishful thinking, but there is one name available on the market with the skills, knowledge and mindset, who has nothing to loose and with no pressure on the results (yet). I bet he’s available for close to nothing, if not for free at all given his eagerness to drive. You know the name.

  24. F Truth (@offdutyrockstar)
    11th September 2017, 9:57

    That Sainz to Renault rumour for Malaysia seems a bit far fetched but stranger things have happened.

    Out of interest, when is the last time a driver defected to another team mid season not due to an accident or injury (a la Fisichella at Ferrari) but purely due to contractual issues.

  25. The sooner the better… works for me. If they’re smart enough, they should switch engines too before this season ends.

    Also, no offense to Kubica and his fans, but didn’t really see the good for F1 in general and Renault team in this Kubica return. I mean, come on… his arm, his age (he’s almost 33, pretty close to retirement age), his past performances, his F1 stats, he’s no champ, new cars, fewer teams, many young shots with (very) promising prospects knocking on F1 doors etc etc. There’s not a single bulletproof reason why a team should sign him again, but only the cons (questions) I mentioned before.

    1. F Truth (@offdutyrockstar)
      11th September 2017, 12:59

      It’s neither technically feasible nor worthwhile to change engine with 7 races to go! Come on use your head man, it’s not plug and play.

      1. Yeah, I knew it’ll never happen, no problem. That part was some sort of joke, but this site is not helping much if someone lacks inspiration and wants to rephrase. An EDIT button and some emoticons could be very helpful.

  26. Some brilliant posts on this subject…..despite me thinking that McLaren should ditch Honda for the last 2 years…it now to me makes more sense for them to keep them…..as the rate of development is now increasing…and they are not that far behind Renault in reliability either.
    Honda now pay for. Alonso’s salary and give free engines…go to Renault and that’s 2 things they now have to pay for….stay with Honda and Alonso leaves….but to go where???? Who that’s left can afford him??? so I reckon he would stay where he is for another season……
    And regarding Sainz(a fine driver)…Dr Marku said they want substantial compensation for training him….can Renault afford that..
    So could be no or little change for next season

  27. Kubica & Renault ends their short term contract.
    Williams seems to be his only option but I doubt they want a rookie and a driver they have to take gamble on his performance.

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