McLaren’s three-year stint with Formula 1 engine partner Honda has been a “proper disaster” for the team’s credibility, according to racing director Eric Boullier.
McLaren announced last Friday in Singapore it would be parting company with Honda at the end of the season, switching to Renault power units for 2018.
The confirmation put an end to months of uncertainty surrounding the future of the McLaren-Honda partnership, which has seen the British team struggle towards the back of the field since 2015.
McLaren faces a big task to recover the lost financial support from Honda while also trying to attract new sponsors, but Boullier is confident the decision to change engine partner will help its cause.
“When you look at the last three years, it’s been a proper disaster for us in terms of credibility and getting new sponsors,” Boullier told the official F1 website.
“And then you have to take the long-term view: in the next five years I am absolutely sure that we will go back to where McLaren belongs.
“And with this bouncing back we get our credibility back and it will rebuild our sponsor portfolio. It might take two to three years.
“We are ninth in the championship – with a top engine I think we would be fourth right now and just on the FOM money we could cover the engine side, so it will not be a big risk on the monetary side.
“Thanks to the shareholders who have been brave enough to take a sporting choice and not hurt McLaren. They could have said: ‘Let’s wait until Honda wakes up’.”