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.
|Irving scores 40 points on return but Celtics lose again|
|Lyon 2 Paris Saint-Germain 1: 10-man leaders downed by twin wondergoals|
|Inter 1 Roma 1: Vecino snatches point on possible Dzeko farewell|
|Real Betis 0 Barcelona 5: Messi, Suarez rampant as leaders go 11 points clear|
|PSG star Mbappe injured in goalkeeper collision|
|Smith rejects ball tampering talk|
|Monchi: Roma will replace Dzeko|
|Kessie a far better player than I was, claims AC Milan coach Gattuso|
|Neymar to Real Madrid stories manufactured by Spanish press, claims Marquinhos|
|Brady active with taped throwing hand for AFC Championship Game|
|Cagliari 1 AC Milan 2: Kessie at the double in comeback win|
|Watford hire Javi Gracia as Marco Silva successor|
|I am happy with our squad - Pochettino denies Malcom rumours|
|Not much changed - Zidane boosted by clinical Madrid|
|No chance of January move, says Vidal|
|Saracens edge into last eight as Wasps and Ulster miss out|
|Selfie or stitches? Ronaldo bloodied after Madrid brace|
|Heynckes hails Bayern win: This is what sets us apart|
|Southampton 1 Tottenham 1: Kane earns visitors a point|
|Silva assured of chances at AC Milan after latest first-team snub|
|Saracens scrape into Champions Cup last eight|
|Goretzka´s Schalke return marred by abuse|
|Real Madrid 7 Deportivo La Coruna 1: Seven-up for Zidane´s men as Bale shines|
|McIlroy ´in really good shape´ after Abu Dhabi return|
|Muller brings up 100 Bundesliga goals in Bayern win|
|Dimitrov places Kyrgios among tennis´ most talented after Melbourne classic|
|Bayern Munich 4 Werder Bremen 2: Lewandowski & Muller at the double to spare champions´ blushes|
|Do Arsenal or Man Utd get the better deal? Sanchez v Mkhitaryan in Opta numbers|
|Edmund: I can win Australian Open|
|Pele ´fine´ and in ´no pain´ after reported health concerns|
|Dimitrov can go all the way, claims Kyrgios|
|Dominant Wozniacki sets up Suarez Navarro showdown|
|Brilliant back nine sees Fleetwood retain title|
|Surgery pushes Pocock´s Brumbies return back three months|
|No mercenary? Sanchez endorses article defending imminent Man Utd move|
|Allegri expects Buffon to be ´fully recovered´ within a week|
|Atletico Madrid confirm Costa hamstring injury|
|Thisara stars as Sri Lanka stay alive in tri-nation series|
|Atalanta 0 Napoli 1: Mertens ends drought to keep visitors top|
|Nadal through to meet Cilic as Dimitrov downs Kyrgios|
|Dimitrov holds off Kyrgios as wait for home champion goes on|
|Alexis Sanchez boards plane ahead of reported Man United medical|
|Smith not sour over controversial dismissal|
|Buttler the difference for England, says Morgan|
|Hamburg dismiss Gisdol after fourth loss in a row|
|Brilliant Buttler century sets up England series win|
|Melbourne City 5 Adelaide United 0: Budzinksi & Vidosic braces inspire emphatic win|
|Marco Silva sacked by Watford following ´significant deterioration´|
|Nadal promises greater aggression in the last eight|
|Deschamps knows my thoughts - Lucas Hernandez hints at France decision|
|Nadal battles past Schwartzman in Melbourne|
|Wozniacki: I have nothing to lose|
|Impey claims historic Tour Down Under win|
|Rockets end Warriors´ 14-game road winning streak|
|Klopp: Liverpool wouldn´t sell to rivals during season|
|Spence retains IBF welterweight title with TKO of Peterson|
|Wozniacki cruises into Australian Open quarter-finals|
|Giggs keen to help Bale overcome injury woes|
|Harrison key to containing ´monster´ Fournette|
|Klopp in no rush to replace Coutinho|
|Cook leads, Rahm in contention in California|
|Cavaliers booed after abysmal first quarter|
|Titans hire Mike Vrabel as new head coach|
|Brive deny Worcester after stadium swap|
|Malcom dreams of Premier League but remains unsure of future|
|Guardiola sets target of 10 wins to guarantee title|
|Championship Review: Millwall break Leeds hearts in seven-goal stunner as Wolves lose|
|Messi and Pique welcome Coutinho to Barcelona training for first time|
|Thauvin ´very happy´ at Marseille|
|Guardiola salutes ´outstanding´ Manchester City|