The long running McLaren Honda saga appears to finally be at an end, with some interesting impacts of the current driver market for F1 2018. McLaren have reportedly negotiated an early termination of their Honda alliance in Formula One, switching allegiance to the Renault brand in a move that will see the once proud Japanese engine builders move over to Toro Rosso on a three year deal, keeping alive the manufacturers Formula One ambitions in what could potential be a very astute move from the Japanese concern, with potential to switch supply to Red Bull in future seasons should the performance of the Honda power unit improve from 2018. With Honda firmly secured in a Toro Rosso / Red Bull alliance the way has been paved for McLaren to secure their much chased Renault partnership, signing up as a customer to the French term until 2021, guaranteeing the British team engine parity with the works Renault outfit and fellow customer squad Red Bull. Coming about due to increased pressure from lead driver Fernando Alonso to ditch the woeful Honda units for next season, McLaren are thought to be keen to tie in with the French brand to give the ailing squad a performance leg up next year while they assess options to either build their own units from 2021, or entice a new manufacturer into the sport in an official works capacity. With Toro Rosso now thought to have secured a three year deal for Honda power from 2018, an interesting change in the dynamic of the driver market has emerged, with Carlos Sainz Jr reportedly moving over to Renault as part of the deal, a prime seat in the Red Bull junior team has opened up for next year, presenting one of the best remaining spots on the grid available for a raft of young drivers looking to make the switch to Formula One next season. Red Bull have a number of talented drivers waiting in the wings for a Formula One chance, not least of which is young Frenchman Pierre Gasly, however Honda is thought to be keen on promoting Japanese talent with either F2 protégé Nobuharu Matsushita or young GP3 driver Nirei Fukuzumi both thought to be in the running for a potential seat next season. In the short term the rumour doing the rounds in the F1 paddock had Carlos Sainz Jr moving to Renault as early as the Malaysian Grand Prix round, with Toro Rosso drafting in Gasly in something of an assessment of his performances ahead of next season. One thing seems fairly certain now the engine merry go round has come to a conclusion, Fernando Alonso looks likely to stay at McLaren for at least the next two seasons, with the 36 year old Spaniard looking for opportunities to add to his 32 Grand Prix victories achieved since making his Formula One debut back in 2001. With Sainz and Hulkenberg tied up at Renault, Bottas recently resigned with Mercedes Benz and Felipe Massa thought highly likely to remain for another season in the second Williams seat, the only real opportunities for a competitive drive next season remain in the newly vacated Toro Rosso cockpit of Sainz. The Sainz / Renault tie up may well come as a blow to Sergio Perez and his ambitions of moving up the grid, with the Mexican thought to have been in detailed contract negotiations with Renault about a drive for next season. Perez comes with some considerable Mexican backing and being over 25 could still interest a Williams team looking for experience to pair with the youth of Lance Stroll, however once again it does look like the driver market silly season may well be sorting itself out earlier than is usually the case in recent years. It is expected that official announcements of the McLaren Renault, Toro Rosso Honda and Carlos Sainz Jr to Renault contracts will be announced during the Singapore Grand Prix Weekend. For more Formula One news and discussion head over to the Formula One sub forum and get involved in the conversation today! Do you think the move by Toro Rosso to sign up Honda will prove to be the right call over time? Can Honda produce a competitive engine in future seasons? Will McLaren be able to fight at the front with Renault power? Let us know in the comments section below!