McLaren: Our fans deserve answers from Honda

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MONTREAL, Canada -- McLaren executive director Zak Brown says his public criticism of Honda was for fans and partners of the team who "deserve answers" about the manufacturer's current situation.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix Brown told the Reuters news agency McLaren's relationship with Honda is reaching "a fork in the road" and that the manufacturer appears to be "lost" with its F1 project. McLaren's patience with its engine partner had been significantly tested by the news an upgrade Honda had planned to bring to Montreal would not be ready in time for this weekend.

Brown says the team's good relationship with Honda means the criticism has been received as it was intended.

"I've spoken to Hasegawa-san, they're understanding about it," Brown said. "We spoke about it. But the relationship between us on a personal level is very healthy, there's no shouting, screaming, and I don't think there was anything said in there that wasn't fair or accurate.

"We have lots of fans and partners that are asking questions they deserve answers too. I'm trying to do the best I can to communicate to everyone what's going on but being respectful of the boundaries that it's a business relationship.

"This isn't something that can be played out publicly but I felt McLaren needed to have a little bit more their views out there, because everyone's frustrated and I think being open and transparent is the only way to do it. If we say here and said 'life's great', everyone would be wondering why I haven't been fired yet."

As recently as the Monaco Grand Prix, Brown was reiterating his and the team's commitment to Honda, but recent comments suggested his opinion has significantly shifted in the last two weeks. However he insists the team remains determined to make a success out of its Honda partnership.

"I think we're very committed to Honda as we sit here today. That hasn't changed. We're giving 110% effort into that relationship. We were anticipating some fairly significant changes here this weekend, which has been well documented, and we found out not so long ago that we wouldn't be getting those and so I would say that very disappointing news and not getting what we anticipated gets you to think and question whether we can get there together at the end of the day."

Clarifying when a decision had to be made, Brown said: "There isn't a firm deadline but I think it's safe to say right around the summer break you're pretty far advance in your 2018 planning. So it's got to be in that timeframe that we make decisions on what we think will get McLaren back to the front of the field and we have a strong desire for that to be with Honda."

Brown says he wants to see Honda react in a positive fashion to his comments.

"What we want to see now is it work. We were around the tests obviously very frustrated and disappointed. But they laid out a plan for us. And we were as comfortable as we could be in the environment, and some of that stuff has happened and not worked, some of it has happened and has worked, and some of it is not here yet. Ultimately what we need to see is delivery of what their expectations are on where they think they are going to get the power unit in the foreseeable couple of months."