Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz is reportedly set to join Renault for 2018, which gives the green light for McLaren to take on Renault power units and Toro Rosso to sign up with Honda for next season.
It was widely reported at the Italian Grand Prix that the discussions for a McLaren-Honda split had intensified, with Toro Rosso being prepared to partner up with Honda, which would in turn allow McLaren to switch to Renault power.
Sainz became centred around these talks, with the Spanish driver rumoured to be in discussions with French marque as part of the deal for Toro Rosso to end their Renault partnership early.
According to Autosport, high level sources have confirmed that the Sainz to Renault deal is almost complete, which would allow the respective power unit deals to fall into place.
The transfer would see Sainz partner Nico Hulkenberg for the 2018 season, with some sources suggesting that he could be drafted in early if Renault elect to drop their current driver, Jolyon Palmer.
In turn, should Sainz switch to Renault for the end of the 2017 season, Toro Rosso would likely promote Red Bull-backed 2016 GP2 champion Pierre Gasly, who has tested for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso and is currently competing in the Super Formula championship.
A potential Honda switch from McLaren to Toro Rosso has sparked discussions that Honda-backed Formula 2 driver Nobuharu Matsushita could join the Italian team for 2018, provided he can obtain enough superlicence points.