Gallery: The McLaren-Honda saga in full

After three unfruitful years, the McLaren-Honda alliance has finally come to an end. Here's how the partnership began and how things unravelled due to lack of on-track success.

Gallery: The McLaren-Honda saga in full
2013
2013
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Photo by: XPB Images

On 16th May 2013, a few days after the Spanish Grand Prix, it was announced that Honda would return to Formula 1 as McLaren's works engine supplier for the hybrid era. McLaren was then led by Martin Whitmarsh.
2013
2013
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Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

Needless to say, the announcement evoked images of their previous partnership in late 1980s and early 90s that yielded several drivers and constructors titles.
2013-2014
2013-2014
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Photo by: XPB Images

However, Honda didn't want to rush things. Aware that it has started its development much later than its rivals, the Japanese manufacturer would only join the sport in 2015 - one year after the hybrid era was supposed to kick off.
End 2013
End 2013
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Photo by: XPB Images

At this point of time, several changes were going on behind-the-scenes at McLaren. Ron Dennis returned to the helm at the cost of Whitmarsh. Dennis recruited Lotus' Eric Boullier as racing director.
2014
2014
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Photo by: Honda

Although testing remains extremely limited in F1, Honda was able to test the engine twice at the end of 2014.
2014
2014
6/56

Photo by: Honda

Test driver Oliver Turvey was given the task of sampling the MP4-29H, a derivative of McLaren's F1 car specially developed to house the Honda engine. Turvey drove it for the first time at Silverstone as part of a 100km filming day, but little is known about how it went.
2014
2014
7/56

Photo by: XPB Images

After the final round of the season, a major test session was scheduled in Abu Dhabi. However, due to an electrical problem then test driver Stoffel Vandoorne could complete a grand total of three laps - a sign of things to come.
2014
2014
8/56

Photo by: XPB Images

The following day, Vandoorne was limited by just two laps as another electrical problem stuck the team. Boullier was quoted as saying that he was frustrated by the issues, but was optimistic of things improving next year.
2014
2014
9/56

Photo by: McLaren

Meanwhile, it was announced that Fernando Alonso would return to the outfit on a three-year deal. Having seen McLaren-Honda dominate F1 as a child, it was his dream to race for the Anglo-Japanese alliance one day.
2014
2014
10/56

Photo by: McLaren

Even though the fallout of 2007 was still clear in everybody's mind, roping in one of the best drivers of current generation was a masterstroke for McLaren. The Spaniard teamed up with Jenson Button, who was chosen over Kevin Magnussen.
2015
2015
11/56

Photo by: McLaren

On January 29, 2015 the first car of their reunion - the MP4-30 was unveiled. While many were hoping for a red and white retro livery (which, actually, were title sponsor Marlboro's corporate colours), McLaren decided to continue with their grey and black livery, with a dash of red. More significantly, the car featured very tight rear packaging, earning itself the 'size-zero' nickname.
2015
2015
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Photo by: XPB Images

The first test took place on February 1-4. During the first two days Alonso and Button could complete six laps each owing to problems with the power unit and its integration with the chassis.
2015
2015
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Photo by: XPB Images

However, there was some progress on the last two days of the test. The drivers managed 32 laps on Day 3 and another 35 laps on the final day. However, the times were well of the pace of the frontrunners.
2015
2015
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Photo by: XPB Images

There was more progress in the second test - both in terms of reliability and pace.
2015
2015
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Photo by: XPB Images

But on the final day, Alonso suffered an unusual accident at turn 3 where he hit the inner wall.
2015
2015
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Photo by: XPB Images

Alonso was airlifted to a hospital. At this point, not enough information was available, leading to plenty of speculation.
2015
2015
17/56

Photo by: Franco Nugnes

Eventually, McLaren was forced to provide more information about the accidents. The Woking-based outfit, to much surprise, blamed the accident to a gust of wind. Meanwhile, Alonso, who suffered concussions, was released from hospital after three days.
2015
2015
18/56

Photo by: XPB Images

As Alonso recovered from the crash, Kevin Magnussen was called in as his replacement for the final pre-season test, which also took place in Barcelona. Although McLaren-Honda's reliability improved, with 101 laps lodged on one of the days, there were fears that the programme was way behind schedule.
2015
2015
19/56

Photo by: McLaren

It was later announced that Alonso will skip the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, with Magnussen again subbing for him. Unfortunately, the Dane had to retire on the formation lap.
2015
2015
20/56

Photo by: XPB Images

Unsurprisingly, the first few races proved to be difficult. Jenson Button missed out on points in Australia where seven drivers retired, before mechanical problems hit both Button and returnee Alonso in Malaysia.
2015
2015
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Photo by: McLaren

Before the start of the Spanish GP, McLaren revealed a new livery - ditching the dull grey colour for a more sleek black-and-red livery.
2015
2015
22/56

Photo by: XPB Images

With new colours, Jenson Button scored McLaren-Honda's first points in form of an eighth place finish in Monaco. However, at the following two races, McLaren endured a double retirement.
2015
2015
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Photo by: McLaren

After scoring first points of the year in Silverstone, Alonso secured the first top-five point for McLaren-Honda in a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix. Jenson Button ensured a double points finish by finishing ninth.
2015
2015
24/56

Photo by: XPB Images

After McLaren drivers accumulated 120 places worth of grid penalties at Spa and Monza, the partnership took an ugly turn at the advent on the Asian leg. At Honda's home turf in Suzuka, Alonso screamed "GP2 engine" on the team radio loudly - with the recording subsequently broadcast on the 'world feed'.
2015
2015
25/56

Photo by: XPB Images

McLaren's last points finish of 2015 came at the US Grand Prix, where Button showed his wet-weather masterclass to finish sixth.
2015
2015
26/56

Photo by: XPB Images

At the Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying, Alonso was seen watching the action from a deck chair after his engine gave up in qualifying. The same weekend the Spaniard and Button gate crashed onto the podium for a fun photo.
2015
2015
27/56

Photo by: XPB Images

With only a single top-five finish, McLaren finished ninth in the constructors standings, only ahead of Manor - which ran a modified 2014 car. It was McLaren's worst year since Dennis took over the team in 1980.
2015
2015
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Photo by: XPB Images

During the latter half of 2015, tensions began to build between Red Bull and Renault with the Austrian company blaming the French manufacturer for their struggles. Red Bull started looking at other engine suppliers. While both Mercedes and Ferrari refused, Honda were open for supply the team with engines. However, at this point, Dennis activated a veto that prevented Red Bull from getting Honda engines, leaving them stuck with Renault.
2016
2016
29/56

Photo by: XPB Images

Meanwhile, Yasuhisa Arai stepped down from his post as Honda's F1 boss after reaching his retirement age. He was replaced by Yusuke Hasegawa.
2016
2016
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Photo by: McLaren

McLaren launched their 2017 challenger on February 21. Honda made several changes to the power unit to overcome the deficiencies of last year.
2016
 2016
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Photo by: XPB Images

There was some visible improvement by Honda in the pre-season tests, although much remained to be desired.
2016
2016
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Photo by: XPB Images

The second pre-season test was better than the first one. Although reliability remained a concern, Honda felt confident about the power side.
2016
2016
33/56

Photo by: Sutton Images

At the first race of the year in Australia, Alonso suffered a spectacular crash after making contact with Esteban Gutierrez. The Spaniard was able to come out of the car without external aid, but had to miss the next race in Bahrain.
2016
2016
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Photo by: XPB Images

Vandoorne was called in as his replacement and the Belgian delivered to the promise shown in GP2, scoring McLaren's first points of the year in form of a 10th place finish.
2016
2016
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Photo by: XPB Images

Although McLaren was still way off the pace, performance was visibly improved. The team scored points for three races in a row, with Monaco being the highlight. At the Principality Alonso finished fifth, while Button crossed the finishing line in ninth.
2016
2016
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Photo by: XPB Images

Button started the Austrian Grand Prix from third (having qualified fifth) and held station early on. He eventually finished a creditable sixth.
2016
2016
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Photo by: XPB Images

The first engine-related penalties hit the team in Belgium, where Alonso was forced to start from the back of the pack with a 60-place grid drop. But he quickly made his way up the field to finish seventh - a result he also managed in Hungary before the summer break.
2016
2016
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Photo by: McLaren

Prior to the Italian Grand Prix, McLaren announced that Vandoorne will join the team in 2017 as a replacement for Button, who will step down to the reserve driver's role. The team will have an option to bring him back from retirement in '18.
2016
2016
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Photo by: Jose Mario Dias

McLaren scored points in five of the last seven races, but had a tough outing at Honda's home turf in Suzuka. During this span, Alonso finished fifth in the US GP after a heroic pass on Felipe Massa (pictured).
2016
2016
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Photo by: McLaren

McLaren ended sixth in the constructors standings with 76 points, a noticeable improvement over last year. Particular strides were made on the reliability side, with the team having to take fewer penalties for exceeding the allotment of each power unit element.
2016
2016
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Photo by: XPB Images

Meanwhile, Dennis was driven out of the team by fellow shareholders Mumtalakat (Bahrain investment fund) and Mansour Ojjeh due to internal conflicts. Dennis owned 25% of the team - same as Ojjeh - while Mumtalakat had half the shareholding.
2016
2016
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Photo by: McLaren

Dennis was effectively succeeded by Zak Brown as Executive Director of the McLaren Technology Group.
2017
2017
43/56

Photo by: Motorsport Images

There were several changes after Dennis' exit. A new orange-and-black livery was unveiled at the team's HQ, while the cars itself adopted a new nomenclature. The 2017 was called as the MCL32.
2017
2017
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Photo by: Motorsport Images

The biggest change, however, was on the power unit side with Honda adopting a new architecture to catch up with rivals.
2017
2017
45/56

Photo by: Motorsport Images

During pre-season testing, it became clear that the move has backfired. Reliability became a major problem again and McLaren lodged the least number of miles in testing.
2017
2017
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Photo by: Motorsport Images

The first few races of the year confirmed what had been clear in testing - Honda has actually taken a step back in both performance and reliability. While the new rules should have allowed McLaren to jump up the pack, it actually pushed it backwards.
2017
2017
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Photo by: Motorsport Images

During this time, to much surprise, Honda finds a second client in Sauber for 2018.
2017
2017
48/56

Photo by: Andrew Hone / Motorsport Images

McLaren now started becoming openly critical of Honda. It also began considering other options, including a return to Mercedes engines.
2017
2017
49/56

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

To keep their star driver happy, McLaren allowed Alonso to miss the Monaco Grand Prix and take part in the Indy 500 in a McLaren-badged Andretti-Honda. The Spaniard led much of the race, but eventually had to retire due to an engine failure. Button replaced Alonso during the Indy weekend
2017
2017
50/56

Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren had to wait until the eighth race of the year, the Azerbaijan GP, to register first points. Alonso finished ninth in a chaotic race that saw several drivers retire.
2017
2017
51/56

Photo by: Sutton Images

Soon after Monisha Kaltenborn left Sauber and was succeeded by Frédéric Vasseur, the Swiss squad decided against using Honda engines for 2018.
2017
2017
52/56

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

With reliability in hand and on a track that is less engine-oriented, McLaren scored a double points finish in Hungary with Alonso sixth and Vandoorne ninth.
2017
2017
53/56

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Tensions began to rise between McLaren and Honda. McLaren had one option in form of Renault, but the French manufacturer was not ready to supply to a fourth team. Hence, the Woking-based squad now had to convince Toro Rosso to give up Renault engines for Honda power units.
2017
2017
54/56

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile, at the Italian Grand Prix, McLaren had to bear with an engine-related grid penalty for the seventh time in 13 races.
2017
2017
55/56

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

After 13 grands prix, McLaren only had 11 points, which, quite alarmingly, was less than what they scored in 2015 at the same stage of the season (17 points).
2017
2017
56/56

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

On 12th September Motorsport.com broke the news that McLaren has terminated its contract with Honda and signed up with Renault. Toro Rosso took up Honda engines instead, Both news stories were made official on 15th September.
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