Barry Oliver | A very public F1 split

At last weekend’s Singapore GP it was confirmed that the ongoing strained marriage between the once-great McLaren team and engine supplier Honda would end in divorce at the end of the year.

FAILURE TO FIRE: McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, left, after his collision with Kimi Raikkonen at the Singapore GP. Both Alonso and McLaren bosses have been highly critical of their Honda engines. Picture: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

FAILURE TO FIRE: McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, left, after his collision with Kimi Raikkonen at the Singapore GP. Both Alonso and McLaren bosses have been highly critical of their Honda engines. Picture: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

Much was expected of the relationship between the parties, particularly as McLaren had secured the services of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso for 2015.

While few expected immediate results there was hope that previous success enjoyed by a relationship from 1988 to 1992 would be reignited.

In that five-year period the McLaren Honda team scored 44 wins and 53 pole positions to dominate the sport, while previous to that, Honda had powered the Williams team to 23 wins and 19 pole positions between 1983 and 1987.

It didn’t get off to a very good start with Alonso caught up in a monster crash in the 2015 Australian GP, and from there it went downhill rapidly with McLaren bosses and Alonso voicing their frustration at the lack of engine performance, straining the relationship to breaking point.

Since joining the team Alonso has contested 52 races and his best results are a fifth place in Hungary in 2015 and fifth places in Monaco and the US in 2016.

There have been 19 retirements, usually accompanied by a very vocal response from the Spaniard, and he has only finished in the points (top ten) eleven times.

In a very convoluted deal Renault will now supply engines to the team in 2018, and while Renault has had its own issues, obviously McLaren team boss Zak Brown feels the future will be much better.

What is yet to be confirmed is whether Alonso will have the confidence in the French to supply a competitive engine to entice him to continue with McLaren.

In actual fact he doesn’t really have a choice as all the competitive seats have been locked in, so the feeling is he will stay put.

Alonso has previous history with the Renault, having won his two championships with them in 2005 and 2006 scoring 14 wins and another 15 podiums over the two years.

So where does this all leave Honda who are a very proud company and will want to save face?

It’s been announced they have come to an arrangement with Toro Rosso, who is the second-tier Red Bull team, to supply them with engines and one suggestion is that Red Bull could even move to Honda power when the new engine regulations come into effect in 2020.

Part of the deal is that Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz will move to the Renault team in 2018 leaving current Renault driver Jolyon Palmer without a drive.

For next year Mercedes have locked in both Lewis Hamilton and Valtieri Bottas, Ferrari have locked in Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull have locked in Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

In 1973, 12 Porsche Carrera competed in the International Race of Champions. One of Mark Donohue's will be on display at Baskerville. Picture: AP Wirephoto

In 1973, 12 Porsche Carrera competed in the International Race of Champions. One of Mark Donohue's will be on display at Baskerville. Picture: AP Wirephoto

RETRO REVIVAL

In 1973 Porsche provided twelve identical 911 Porsche RSR models for a group of top-flight drivers in their respective fields to compete in the four-round International Race Of Champions (IROC) series in America at four different tracks.

When the drivers arrived at each round they had to draw a number which dictated the car they were to race, and that was to avoid any issue that any one car was better than the others.

The series victor with three wins was 1972 Indianapolis winner Mark Donohue, and this weekend one of his winning cars will be on display and driven in demonstration laps at the Baskerville historic meeting.

The car, owned by the Dutton’s Garage in Melbourne, is reputed to be valued at $4 million.

Donohue is widely regarded as one of the best drivers to come out of America and his untimely death practising for the Austrian GP in 1975 was a great loss to the sport.

Some of the other drivers who competed in the IROC series included former world F1 champions Denny Hulme and Emerson Fittipaldi, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J.Foyt and top NASCAR drivers Bobby Allison, David Pearson and Richard Petty.