The long-running tragicomedy of McLaren's reunion with Honda could be given its last rites at the Singapore Grand Prix this week, as a deal with Renault nears fruition.
McLaren's decision to ditch Mercedes power heading into the hybrid era has backfired spectacularly, with Honda always playing catch-up to their manufacturing rivals – a deficiency that has left one of the sport's great exponents, Fernando Alonso, woefully misplaced on the grid.
The unhappy marriage is set for divorce, however, with Renault reportedly agreeing to supply power units for McLaren in 2018 and beyond.
But the story is not quite that simple, with the futures of Toro Rosso, and especially Carlos Sainz Jr, also tangled into a complicated web of deal-making and repositioning...
WHY MCLAREN ARE MAKING THE MOVE
McLaren-Honda was a combination previously synonymous with one of Formula One's most commanding teams. Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna's domination of the grid came on Honda power – between them the legendary foes won all but one race in 1988, with the Brazilian coming out on top in that intra-team battle, the first of four-straight drivers' and constructors' doubles.
The last two and a half years have done severe damage to that reputation, however, with Alonso, Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne lagging in midfield at best. The team have scored points at just two races so far this season.
Of the four power units currently in F1, Honda's is by far the weakest, but the proposed move to Renault speaks volumes of McLaren's desperation to ditch a partner that currently provides free engines and pays most of Alonso's salary.
Red Bull have made no secret of their frustration with the French manufacturer over recent seasons, having seen their pre-Hybrid dominance of the sport transferred to Mercedes, and Ferrari overtaking them as the Silver Arrows' most meaningful rivals this year.
WHAT NEXT FOR HONDA?
Honda's malaise was deepened in July when Sauber reneged on a deal to take their power units from 2018, instead striking a fresh agreement with Ferrari.
The Japanese brand are set to remain in the sport, however, with Renault unable to simply add McLaren to their portfolio of customers – meaning Toro Rosso will take the plunge with Honda.
It has even been suggested that Red Bull could end up with Honda power, should they be enthused by the junior team's progress – bizarrely mirroring the desire to quit a supplier which has seen McLaren head for Renault.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE ALONSO/SAINZ?
Alonso was previously expected to quit McLaren at the end of this season, but the promise of a more competitive package should be enough to keep the two-time world champion around for at least one more year.
Sainz is expected to end up in the Renault works car, as they seek a competitive edge over McLaren and Red Bull – both capable of putting together much sleeker chassis as it stands.
The biggest victim of the situation looks set to be Jolyon Palmer, who could even lose his Renault seat to Sainz before the season is over.
|Van Gaal: Heynckes can become a Bayern Munich god|
|Real Madrid without Ramos for Girona test|
|South Africa include Morris & Olivier for remainder of Australia series|
|Icardi reaches 100 Serie A goals against former club Sampdoria|
|Ireland Grand Slam heroes denied homecoming by weather|
|Cardiff trip to Derby postponed due to snow|
|Ogbonna gets Italy call as cover for doubtful Chiellini|
|Sunderland suspend Gibson after drink-driving charge|
|Manly claim record Eels thrashing, Knights win late again|
|Winning FA Cup is not important, claims Chelsea coach Conte|
|No one will be compared to me – Cristiano Ronaldo|
|LeBron James: Cavs worried about Lue health|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Red Bull|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Force India|
|Melbourne Victory 5 Central Coast Mariners 2: Berisha leads rout with hat-trick|
|Clarke breaks three vertebrae, Greipel has collarbone surgery|
|Waratahs blitz Rebels after scoring 38 unanswered points|
|Del Potro relishing Federer showdown|
|Australia to host two games against Team USA in 2019|
|Grizzlies snap 19-game losing streak, LeBron´s triple-double lifts Cavs|
|McIlroy suggests limiting alcohol sales after Bay Hill abuse|
|Marotta dismisses Allegri-PSG links as Juve focus on Can|
|MLS Review: Champions Toronto still winless, Atlanta crush Whitecaps|
|Lukaku: A lot of players will join Manchester United next season|
|I feel like I just woke up – Indian Wells finalist Federer explains slow start|
|High-flying Reds win third straight in Buenos Aires|
|Salah and Liverpool don´t fear Man City: We´ve beaten them!|
|What can I lose? - Mourinho defends criticism of Man Utd players|
|Mourinho accuses Manchester United of being scared to play|
|Mourinho delivers stinging Shaw criticism after FA Cup win|
|Haskell: England not good enough during Six Nations|
|Allegri waits on Chiellini update after Juve´s SPAL stalemate|
|Stenson leads by one with DeChambeau and McIlroy lurking|
|Racing put pressure on leaders Montpellier as Toulon are toppled|
|Klopp eases concerns over Can´s back complaint|
|Six Nations defeats make no difference to England mindset – Hartley|
|Matic was an island of personality - Mourinho questions United mentality|
|Del Potro demolishes Raonic to set up Federer final|
|He´s getting quicker on the Zimmer frame – Schmidt jokes about Best future|
|SPAL 0 Juventus 0: Scudetto charge halted by Serie A strugglers|
|Manchester United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Lukaku & Matic book semi-final spot|
|Fresh rib fracture for Cavendish but ´no serious injury´ after crash|
|Unbeaten Federer fights back to reach Indian Wells final|
|Klopp: Salah could be among world´s best, but don´t compare him to Messi|
|Woods hopes to still be within reach at Arnold Palmer Invitational|
|Championship Review: Wolves on the charge as Monk lifts Birmingham´s spirits|
|Twickenham boos will ´put me to sleep at night´, Jones claims|
|Salah threatening Rush´s record for goals in single Liverpool season|
|Hodgson hopes Zaha avoided injury|
|Snow causes Wakefield-Widnes abandonment|
|Liverpool 5 Watford 0: Inspirational Salah nets four as Reds bounce back|
|Lambert rues Everton´s ´offside´ opener in costly Stoke City defeat|
|Scotland´s late rally leaves Townsend feeling positive for the future|
|Wales hold off France to claim second behind Ireland|
|Man Utd bench Pogba & Sanchez for FA Cup quarter-final|
|Pardew: Evans loss key to Bournemouth defeat|
|Zarco breaks track record to claim Qatar pole after Rossi crashes in practice|
|Ireland had to make every moment count against England – Best|
|Salah breaks Torres´ impressive Liverpool record|
|We are not heroes one day and villains the next – Mourinho continues defence of Sevilla exit|
|Lions bounce back against Sunwolves, Stormers end miserable streak|
|Jones: England losing streak only natural|
|They have many players who´d get in my team – The Sevilla stars Mourinho should buy|
|Mario Gomez will not beg for World Cup place|
|England´s form continues to run cold in Twickenham snow|
|Nibali holds on in Milan-San Remo as Cavendish crashes again|
|Bournemouth 2 West Brom 1: Stanislas piles misery on Pardew|
|Buffon to play on for Italy as Di Biagio calls up uncapped duo|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Crystal Palace 2: Tomkins and Milivojevic secure priceless win|
|Stockdale makes history as ruthless Ireland win Grand Slam|