Formula One motor racing team McLaren have agreed a deal to be released from their contract with Honda and switch to Renault as their engine supplier from 2018, according to multiple reports.
The British team have endured a torrid time since restoring a once-celebrated partnership with the Japanese manufacturer in 2015, failing to record a single podium finish.
The move is expected to be confirmed at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, where McLaren will be hoping to improve on their current tally of 11 points, which leaves them adrift in ninth in the ten-team constructors’ championship.
According to UK-based weekly motorsport magazine Autosport, McLaren’s contract with Renault will run for three years, taking it to the close of the current Formula One engine regulations cycle at the end of 2020.
The deal is expected to result in two-time world champion Fernando Alonso penning an extension with McLaren, with his current contract due to expire at the end of the current campaign. The Spaniard had made being able to drive a competitive car next season a key factor in negotiations, and the switch to Renault will likely convince the 36-year-old to sign a similar contract to his existing agreement, which is thought to be worth an annual UK£20 million (US$26.5 million).
Speaking to UK newspaper the Daily Mail, Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s former owner, said: “The Renault deal is all done. Alonso staying is super news. But I can't see why McLaren will be any happier with Renault than they are with Honda. It wasn't Honda's fault things didn't work out, it was McLaren's. Every day they had a fight about everything, instead of working with them, which was a little bit stupid.”