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.
|Hunt recommits to Wallabies, Reds|
|Blues appoint Fittler in quest for Origin glory|
|Starc rips knee, pants at Gabba|
|Rodrigo commits to Valencia until 2022|
|Parker news conference unprofessional, says Joshua|
|All Blacks injuries no help to Wales – Gatland|
|Domestic bliss? Montella targets Serie A resurgence after Europa League success|
|Rooney stands by Unsworth after Everton humiliation|
|He deserved more chances – Hazard hails ´top player´ Salah|
|Hartley set to lead England at Six Nations despite Samoa omission|
|We have to stay awake all the time - Coutinho frustrated after Sevilla collapse|
|Everton 1 Atalanta 5: Cristante and Cornelius knock more shine off Premier League strugglers|
|AC Milan 5 Austria Wien 1: Andre Silva sends Montella´s men through to the last 32|
|Joshua: Awkward Fury a ´nutjob´, but I´d knock Wilder out with one punch|
|Wasteful Arsenal leave Wenger frustrated|
|Goffin: Belgium have nothing to lose in Davis Cup final|
|McInnes to remain at Aberdeen despite links to Rangers, West Brom|
|Robinho given prison sentence in Italy for 2013 sexual assault|
|Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Gunners secure top spot despite defeat|
|Vikings´ Griffen asks fans to help name his baby during Thanksgiving game|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at Saturday´s rugby internationals|
|All Blacks skipper Read to miss Wales clash|
|Silva not giving ´one more word´ on Everton speculation|
|North free to choose region, insists Gatland|
|Everton sign Bramley Moore Dock lease|
|UEFA investigating Bayern after fans throw fake money in protest over Champions League prices|
|North´s Northampton spell ´like having a Ferrari in your garage but you can´t find the key´|
|Robben out of Gladbach clash with ´minor´ calf strain|
|Pochettino pleased to see Rose emotion|
|Fury still looks far from fitness with hearing set for December|
|Mourinho factor makes Man Utd a title threat, says Lampard|
|Chase hit with two-year ban for cocaine use|
|Jones returns to lead much-changed Wales against All Blacks|
|Chelsea´s best chance of success is Champions League, claims Lampard|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton not relishing imminent Halo, Vettel wants Baku awards|
|Cummins savours taking ´dream´ Root wicket|
|Jones makes nine England changes as Simmonds starts at number eight|
|Robben: It could be over for me after this season|
|Newcastle Jets 4 Melbourne Victory 1: Nabbout at the double|
|Chawrasia leads from Fitzpatrick in Hong Kong|
|Vince revels in silencing the doubters|
|Happy Sanchez could win the Premier League for Arsenal, Lauren claims|
|Davis leads Australian Open as Spieth struggles in the wind|
|Halep tips Dimitrov for grand slam glory|
|The Ashes round-up: England falter after Vince and Stoneman half-centuries|
|Angered Neymar storms away from Real Madrid questions|
|Bayern played their worst ´for a long time´ - Boateng|
|Australia fight back on tight first day in Brisbane|
|Neymar form no surprise for Alves|
|Fiji ready for another mission impossible - Naiqama|
|Vince helps England continue fine start|
|Thunder roll as Westbrook goes off against Warriors, Cavs win|
|Kiwis would consider Bennett as coach|
|Meninga unhappy with Aussie preparations ahead of World Cup semi|
|Federer congratulates Basel after Man Utd scalp|
|Heat snap Celtics´ 16-game winning streak|
|Spurs star Leonard has unique issue, Popovich says|
|England steady after early Cook loss in Brisbane|
|Gremio 1 Lanus 0: Cicero gives Brazilians advantage in Libertadores final|
|Hazard: I admire Madrid, but I´m happy at Chelsea|
|Neuer or De Gea? Digne says Ter Stegen is world´s best keeper|
|Allegri satisfied with draw against ´extraordinary´ Barcelona|
|Nainggolan reaffirms Roma commitment after Simeone praise|
|Chiefs sign veteran CB Revis|
|England choose to bat as Warner, Marsh cleared to play for Australia|
|Beathard, not Garoppolo, named 49ers starter v Seahawks|
|Simeone hails Griezmann´s ´extraordinary´ volley|
|Emery hails Neymar after stunning Celtic win|
|Freeney joins Lions day after being cut by Seahawks|
|Championship Review: Wolves thrash 10-man Leeds, Middlesbrough cruise|