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Volume 7 No. 66
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Honda Motorsport GM Says McLaren Formula 1 Can 'Find It Hard To Adapt'

Honda Motorsport GM Masashi Yamamoto portrayed Formula 1 team McLaren as "systematic" and "set in their ways" as the F1 partners prepare to separate at the end of the season, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. McLaren is ninth of 10 teams in the constructors' championship and has "directed much of the blame at Honda, whose engine has suffered embarrassing failures and is no match for rivals." Yamamoto: "Working with McLaren, I've realized that they are a very big company which is very systematic. It's obviously very strong because of that but at the same time they can find it hard to adapt to change." He gave "no specific examples" (REUTERS, 9/18). MOTORSPORT's Lawrence Barretto reported Honda is "teaming up with Toro Rosso." Yamamoto "hinted that Toro Rosso will be more accommodating of change when it teams up with the Italian team for the next three seasons." He said, "Toro Rosso, it is a company that is growing. It is very important for us to work in partnership together, heading towards the same goal. So for us, we are very much looking forward to being able to work closer. Take this for an example: If we compare both teams with different cuisines, let’s say McLaren is a very sophisticated French cuisine, that’s the way it is. Then Toro Rosso is more like a countryside, homemade delicious stew where you can add new ingredients. We’re excited to do that." Communication was "one of the key problems McLaren and Honda encountered during their renewed relationship" but Yamamoto is "hopeful Honda will have more success with its new partner." Yamamoto: "First, [Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz] Mr. Tost knows a lot about Japan. He understands the culture and it's a good communication that we have" (MOTORSPORT, 9/18).

WHATEVER IT TAKES: F1I's Phillip van Osten reported McLaren's shareholders have "thrown their full weight behind" Exec Dir Zak Brown's plan to bring the Woking-based outfit "back in to the winner's circle." Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa and Mansour Ojjeh, principal shareholders of the McLaren Technology Group, fully supported Brown's initiative to "prematurely dissolve its partnership with Honda" and sign with Renault from '18. The "painful split came at a hefty cost for McLaren" but with no other choice, its shareholders complied. Brown is now "focusing his efforts on retaining Fernando Alonso" for '18. The Spanish driver's "massive retainer was viewed as a potential stumper" in the negotiations between the two parties, especially in light of Honda's departure, which will lead to a $100M sponsorship shortfall (F1I, 9/17).