McLaren struggled to adapt to change, claims Honda

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Honda motorsport chief Masashi Yamamoto has criticised McLaren in the wake of its divorce from the Japanese engine manufacturer for being a "systematic" company that finds it hard to adapt to change.

It was announced last week that both parties have agreed to end their relationship after three unsuccessful seasons marred by a plethora of unreliability issues and poor performance. Following continued troubles in 2017, McLaren has switched to Renault power for next season, while Honda will supply Toro Rosso.

Yamamoto compared Honda's current partners McLaren to a "sophisticated French cuisine" and suggested Toro Rosso, a team he described as a "homemade delicious stew" and a "growing company", would be more open to change.

"Working with McLaren, I've realised that they are a very big company which is very systematic," Yamamoto said in an interview on the Honda Racing website. "It's obviously very strong because of that but at the same time they can find it hard to adapt to change.

"Compare that to Toro Rosso, it is a company that is growing. It is very important for us to work in partnership together, heading towards the same goal. So for us we are very much looking forward to being able to work closer.

"Take this for an example: If we compare both teams with different cuisines, let's say McLaren is a very sophisticated French cuisine, that's the way it is. Then Toro Rosso is more like a countryside, homemade, delicious stew where you can add new ingredients. We're excited to do that."

McLaren confirmed its impending split from Honda during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, with the Woking-based outfit currently languishing in ninth place in the constructors' championship and set to equal its worst-ever finish in Formula One.

While Yamamoto hit out at McLaren, he also admitted that Honda had failed to reach both the performance and reliability targets set by McLaren during a three-year tenure which has failed to produce a return to the podium, yet alone the top step.

"Obviously Honda would have preferred to stay in partnership with McLaren. But we were not able to reach the performance and reliability targets set by the team.

"This created tension between us and unfortunately separation was the result. In the world of Formula One it's important to get the results, it's part of the deal.

"Our motto as McLaren-Honda is 'One Team' -- working together to get performance. However, we didn't perform as well as we hoped in the pre-season tests, so from the beginning of the season onwards we were unable to deliver as much power as we wanted, and McLaren expected."

Honda's latest dismal campaign has failed to stop the Japanese manufacturer from setting bold targets in its first year partnering Toro Rosso, with Honda hoping for a top-three finish in 2018 to help rebuild its reputation. There were even rumours that Honda could end its F1 programme altogether, though Yamamoto insists it would have little sense.

"It's the challenge of performance and technology that drives us. So giving up halfway makes no sense, it's not our mentality. We're here to progress and grow. It's very important for us.

"The regulations go on until 2020 so we still have three years and we want to show our improvements in the technology. We want to show Honda's potential. That is very important for us, to let the world see how we will progress and how we can make it a success."