McLaren has just about reached the point of desperation by now. One of the most victorious teams in F1 history, it hasn't won a race or even landed on the podium once in the past three seasons. And all signs point to it being Honda's fault.
That's why the team has been rumored to be considering other options for next season, and this latest report has really caught our attention.
According to Autosport, McLaren could be seeking an engine supply deal with Ferrari for next season. And while that may make sense given the Italian engine's performance this year, the idea of McLaren buying engines from its arch-rival, in the greater context of things, seems almost unthinkable.
The most likely scenario, should Honda fail to get its act together by the end of this season, would ostensibly have McLaren return to running Mercedes power, albeit as a customer team – not the works relationship once enjoyed between the British team and the German manufacturer.
The linchpin may come down to Sauber, of all teams. The Swiss outfit was set to run Honda engines next season, but is now reportedly backing out in the wake of its team principal's departure.
If Sauber elects to stick with year-old Ferrari engines like it's running now instead of switching to Honda as planned, and Haas sticks (as it is all but certain to) with Ferrari engines as well, the powertrain shop in Maranello could find itself too busy to take on another team, and might require special approval to do so even if it wanted to. With Mercedes prodigy Pascal Wehrlein driving for Sauber, it could very well switch to AMG power instead.
The bottom line is that if both McLaren and Sauber jump ship, Honda could find itself leaving F1 altogether through no choice of its own... just a complete failure to compete.