Renault won't add fourth engine supply for McLaren

McLaren will have to forget about getting Renault engines next year unless Toro Rosso switches to Honda, with insiders suggesting it is now ‘too late’ for a fourth supply to be made available by the French car manufacturer.

Renault won't add fourth engine supply for McLaren

Ahead of a crunch day of talks to decide the future of Honda in Formula 1, McLaren is awaiting news of what happens with Toro Rosso before it can finalise its engine situation for 2018.

Red Bull chiefs, who are heavily involved in the Toro Rosso/Honda discussion, have set a deadline of tonight for a deal to be completed before they deem it too late for a switch to happen.

A green light for Honda to tie up with Toro Rosso would free up its Renault customer supply, which could then be moved across to McLaren.

However, if Toro Rosso cannot get things sorted, then it will remain with Renault for 2018 – leaving McLaren in a tricky situation.

No extra customers

Although McLaren has been hoping that Renault could be persuaded to expand its supply to a fourth team, sources have suggested that the French car maker has come to the conclusion such a move is now all but impossible.

With much of its 2018 planning already firmed up, and parts already on order or being prepared, adding an extra customer beyond Red Bull, Toro Rosso and its works team could put too much strain on it.

Furthermore, sources have suggested that FIA rules that guarantee an engine for a team will not be triggered if McLaren parts ways with Honda – because deadlines for that procedure to be activated have now passed.

Should Toro Rosso stay put, then McLaren would face a scenario of being forced to stick with Honda, or trying to find an 11th-hour deal elsewhere if it decided that carrying on with the Japanese manufacturer was impossible.

Reliability concerns

Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said that his company’s reluctance to have an extra deal had been further entrenched by recent reliability problems – which it needs to get on top of.

With a variety of causes behind its engine woes, Abiteboul said that it needed to focus on the three deals it currently had.

“It is touching different areas of the engine, and it can come from different type of suppliers or different areas from design to production, to operation and engine build and so on,” he told Motorsport.com.

“It is many little different things that need to be addressed. It is the whole thing that has to improve in quality, but I have all the confidence in the management structure to do that.

“And frankly, that is one of the reasons why we do not want to have more customers than we already have.

“We do not want to dilute the effort that goes into next year and to the fact that next year’s engine will be designed in a very reliable manner.

“It was very difficult this year because everything was changed. Next year there will be big improvement in terms of performance but in terms of architecture it will be the same as this year.”

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