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JULY 8, 2017

McLaren denies Honda power break rumour

The future of the McLaren-Honda project appears to be in healthier shape this weekend in Austria.

Ahead of the FIA press conference on Friday, Mercedes' Toto Wolff was supposed to have been joined by Pirelli's Mario Isola and Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

But at the last minute, the Italians were replaced by McLaren's Eric Boullier and Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa.

It fuelled speculation it could be the scene of the announcement of the McLaren-Honda split, with Wolff also present to represent McLaren's next engine supplier.

But proceedings did not pan out that way.

Instead, the McLaren rhetoric suddenly took a turn, fuelled perhaps by Boullier's confirmation that the 'step 3' Honda engine is indeed a clear step forwards.

"(We had) a little bit of a setback at the beginning of this season but I think we can see now we are back on the right path to get back to the front," said the Frenchman.

As for the rumour that McLaren could take 'a break' from Honda power next year and run for the interim with Mercedes engines, Boullier, Hasegawa and Wolff all denied it.

"I think we have a common answer -- no," said Boullier.

Hasegawa agreed: "Of course it is not our option. We don't want to do that.

"We want to keep this collaboration and at this moment there is no other story."

And Mercedes' Wolff said: "If it's not their option, it's not my option either."