Carlos Sainz to join Renault F1 team on loan in 2018

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However, the PR offensive - when it did come - cemented what many had expected for some weeks, as the Woking giant attempts to turn its fortunes around (and keep hold of a clearly disgruntled Fernando Alonso into the bargain). We will work together to deal with the financials.

But Katsuhide Moriyama, chief officer for brand and communication, insisted the future was bright as Honda enters its new partnership with Toro Rosso next season.

McLaren has an avenue back to respectability and will now assume a holding position for three seasons ahead of the sport's engine revamp for 2021 when the team itself may seek to make its own engines or arrange a deal with Porsche.

"He's very happy with the direction of the team and the team in general", said McLaren executive director Brown.

McLaren and Alonso had both lost confidence Honda, with whom they have been partnered since 2015, would become competitive quickly enough to satisfy their needs.

Mirroring McLaren's partnership with Honda, Red Bull have been highly critical of the Renault power-unit in recent years, which has seen the team drop from world-champions to the third best team over the last four years. While Alonso has had his outbursts, considering what he is dealing with, outwardly he has been handling it pretty well. "This agreement is perfectly in line with our medium-term strategy and our ambition to become a candidate for victory in 2020".

And in further bad news for McLaren, they will now be forced to wait an excruciating period of time before finding out whether Alonso will even commit to them for next season.

McLaren have been with Honda for three years, in a deal that when it was signed was seen as a winning partnership, over and above the return of Fernando Alons to the team he left in 2007.

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Sainz added: "To be a Formula 1 driver for a manufacturer team is an honour, and I hope to reward Renault's faith in me with my very best performances on track".

"I will think what is the best option", Alonso told reporters. I don't know exactly the numbers of what they expect from Renault - or what they were expecting from Honda.

"Everyone at Hinda is looking forward to working with Toro Rosso, and we are excited to start this new chapter in our Formula 1 journey with them".

"Now obviously that's not happening, so I can look at other opportunities inside or outside of F1".

Then then came the piece de resistance, Christian Horner and Cyril Abiteboul assuming the most pathetic poker faces in history as they tried to dismiss claims that the Austrian team will not be using Renault power in 2019 because the French manufacturer has pulled the plug.

Honda Motorsport manager Masashi Yamamoto said it was a "shame and a pity" that McLaren had walked away from their alliance in favour of a tie-up with Renault. This will give Carlos a different challenge and we will be keenly watching his progress there as he remains part of the Red Bull family.

"Fernando is a very important asset, he's very happy with the decision, we're happy with him in the vehicle, he's happy being in the auto and I think we'll have a good ending to this story".

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