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.
|With Neymar back, Brazil are World Cup favourites – Lugano|
|Alba: I don´t understand the criticism of Messi|
|He has sacrificed a lot – Stuani praises Suarez|
|Manning says Brees deserves to break his record for career passing yards|
|Hornets want Walker to play entire career with Charlotte|
|Avalanche sign Grubauer to three-year extension|
|Argentina struggles down to team, not just Messi – Hierro|
|Casey leads Travelers by four after firing 62|
|Scotland run riot in Argentina as Hourcade tenure ends in defeat|
|Germany´s Rudy in doubt for South Korea clash|
|England produce storming fightback to beat New Zealand|
|Shaqiri, Xhaka facing disciplinary action over goal celebration|
|Kvitova takes WTA lead for wins by easing into Birmingham final|
|Jones: England back on road to being world´s best|
|Germany survive in Sochi but questions remain|
|Germany 2 Sweden 1: Late Kroos winner brings Low´s men back from the brink|
|Perisic dreaming of matching Croatia´s France 98 heroes|
|Veron questions Sampaoli for leaving Icardi out|
|Southgate won´t blame injured Alli for playing through pain barrier|
|Travelers Championship: Course invader drives Rory McIlroy and crowd nuts|
|Saul tells Atletico to renew Oblak deal after Griezmann´s new contract|
|Course invader sends McIlroy & crowd nuts at Travelers Championship|
|Saudi Arabia v Egypt: El Hadary eyes history in dead rubber|
|Referee declines Cheika invite after Australia´s series loss to Ireland|
|Griezmann, Mbappe can eclipse Henry, claims Trezeguet|
|Nawalka hopeful of Glik return against Colombia|
|Mexico outsmart South Korea to join Croatia as unheralded World Cup threats|
|´No drama´ for Southgate after England team sheet leak|
|Hend caught by five in Pulheim as Bjerregaard goes low|
|´Little Pea´ Hernandez hits big Mexico milestone in World Cup win|
|Modric and Rakitic the best midfield in Russia - Corluka|
|Cipriani and Farrell ease pressure on Jones as England avoid SA whitewash|
|South Korea 1 Mexico 2: Hernandez nets landmark goal as last 16 beckons|
|Ozil and Khedira axed by Germany|
|Djokovic plans to use two rackets against Cilic after reaching Queen´s final|
|World Cup of penalties? Russia surpasses Brazil after VAR introduction|
|Neymar ´fully recovered´ but Brazil coach Tite has thigh injury|
|Hansen claims France ´clutching at straws´ after another referee controversy|
|Douglas Costa, Danilo out of Brazil´s Serbia clash|
|Hamilton claims 75th pole as Mercedes dominate in France|
|´Mentally strong´ Salah will overcome World Cup disappointment, says Mane|
|Pekerman contemplating unleashing James and Quintero together|
|Schmidt hopes Australia furnace will produce Ireland diamonds|
|I´m missing practice, but it´s OK - Federer ready for Coric|
|Spain v Morocco: Alba makes case for the defence|
|Team-man Lukaku firmly in the race for individual prize|
|Belgium 5 Tunisia 2: Lukaku and Hazard shine as Red Devils run riot|
|Leaked England team gives Panama no advantage, insists Gomez|
|Mane and Senegal holding no fear for Japan|
|Murray to meet Wawrinka at Eastbourne|
|Nigeria goalkeeper Ikeme in remission after year-long cancer battle|
|Lukaku breaks Belgium record against Tunisia|
|Iran v Portugal: Team Melli bullish over qualification chances|
|Mauresmo to be France´s first female Davis Cup captain|
|Maradona angry at Argentina World Cup performances|
|Ireland cap stunning season with series win over Wallabies|
|Uruguay v Russia: Selection posers for already-qualified pair|
|Federer scraps his way to yet another Halle final|
|Lunin rejected ´3,000 offers´ to join Real Madrid|
|On your bike! Iceland physio sent home after cycling accident|
|Not just Real Madrid interested in Fekir, says Aulas|
|France frustrated by officials again as All Blacks complete sweep in style|
|Jose Enrique reveals brain tumour surgery|
|The referee was a disaster, fumes Matic|
|Lakmal to captain Sri Lanka in Chandimal´s absence|
|Alli back in England training|
|McIlroy, Watson plotting moves as Harman leads Travelers Championship|
|Tearful Neymar is a joyful boy, says Jesus|
|Ruiz: Coutinho has the same quality as Neymar|
|Kovacic announces intention to leave Real Madrid|