UPDATEZak Brown has suggested Mercedes and Ferrari are unwilling to provide McLaren with a 2018 engine because they "like us where we are".
And, in the clearest indication yet that McLaren are leaning towards sticking with their current engine partners next year, the team's executive director has also told Sky Sports "we ultimately think that Honda can get the job done".
McLaren remain bottom of the constructors' standings at the halfway point of a hapless campaign and, though a split with Honda has never been confirmed, they had been in discussions with their competitors about a 2018 power supply.
But Brown says rivals, particularly leading teams and engine manufacturers Mercedes and Ferrari, are enjoying seeing Formula 1's eight-time champions towards the back of the grid.
"We're a big team that knows how to win races and championships so I think most of the teams, while it's a shame to see where we are, they like us where we are," Brown told Sky Sports News' Craig Slater. "They don't want to get us too close to them which is understandable."
07/12/17 According to Gazzetta, the McLaren folks are done waiting, and have submitted an "exploratory" request to use Ferrari engines for the 2018 season.
Whether or not this is a political move to pressure Honda, or a genuine attempt to shed the dead weight of their Japanese partner is not yet known.
If legitimate, this would mark the first time in the history of McLaren that their Formula One cars would be powered by a Ferrari engine, as the two teams have been rivals in the sport for 51 years, since McLaren's first entry in 1966. This may satisfy the team's star driver, Fernando Alonso, who has threatened to bid his team goodbye to escape the Honda engine's under performance.
If the Sauber-Honda deal is deteriorating, and McLaren is willing to beg their bitterest rivals for help, then Honda's time in Formula One may again be at an end.
|If McLaren is asking if Ferrari would supply engines and with Honda reneging on Sauber for engines (see rumor), Honda may have decided to get out of F1|
(GMM) Ferrari has emerged as an unlikely option for McLaren, as rumors of a looming divorce with struggling works partner Honda persist.
In recent days, speculation the McLaren-Honda split will proceed has waned.
But Italy's authoritative La Gazzetta dello Sport now claims Ferrari – once McLaren's arch title nemesis – has received an "exploratory enquiry" from the British team about the possibility of an engine deal.
"It is a dramatic and unpredictable scenario that years ago would have been unimaginable," the sports newspaper said.