The McLaren team is about to return to the long-time engine manufacturer Mercedes. These rumours have been circulating in industry circles for months; But at the edge of Russia’s Grand Prix in Sochi, they thicken. According to this, an official announcement could be imminent.
On Friday, a meeting between McLaren boss Zak Brown and Cyril Abiteboul, the boss of the current engine manufacturer of McLaren, Renault, was observed in Paddock. At the same time, a Mercedes speaker was seen at McLaren. A clear indication that something is going on, even if the parties involved do not wish to make an official statement on it.
McLaren team leader Andreas Seidl and his Technical Director James Key are currently consistently advancing the development of the former success record. One of Seidle’s first official acts was the start of a new wind tunnel project for the Woking factory. In addition, the chapter Fernando Alonso was added to formula 1.
Seidl had not officially given any signals that a change of engine manufacturer could be imminent. Recently, he said the focus was on the architecture of the Renault engine. This will also be the basis for everything we do from November to 2021.”
Seidl: Satisfied with the Renault partnership
“One reason we show such achievements is the step Renault has taken in terms of performance. I am satisfied with this relationship and also with how openly and transparently it is lived, according to the German.
Seidl is by the way not completely unknown to Mercedes. Before he switched from Porsche to McLaren, he was also at Mercedes in the conversation, in the leadership position, with the long-term idea of one day following in the footsteps of Toto Wolff. Stuttgart appreciates him. It is possible that this would favour cooperation.
McLaren already drove between 1995 and 2014 with Mercedes-Power in formula 1. Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999) and Lewis Hamilton (2008) were world champions on McLaren-Mercedes. From 1997 onwards, the silver arrows burned by West, the sponsor of cigarettes, have been a symbol of a success story in Mercedes’s motor sports history.
Still bureaucratic obstacles to overcome
Not all obstacles have been removed. Mercedes recently extended the motor delivery contract with Williams until the end of 2025. The one with Racing Point is also designed in the long term. McLaren would therefore be the fourth Mercedes team in formula 1.
This is strictly forbidden under FIA regulations. Article 8.3 of the Sports Regulations provides that an engine manufacturer may equip up to three teams. A cooperation with a fourth team is only possible with the express agreement of the FIA.
The change from Renault to Mercedes would take place, if at all, at the earliest 2021, i.e. at the same time as the introduction of a reformed formula-1 regulation. By the end of 2020, McLaren is contractually bound to Renault.
Should the deal go through, this might have an impact on the power relationships of the big manufacturers in Formula 1. Mercedes would then be in the widest position with four teams as a whole. Ferrari still had three teams, Honda two and Renault only one. Nevertheless, according to information from’Motorsport-Total.com’, Renault is looking forward to the changeover in a relaxed way to…