Russian Grand Prix – McLaren have announced that they will swap from Renault to Mercedes Benz engines at the end of the 2020 season.
McLaren have confirmed that their existing three year deal with Renault, which expires at the end of 2020, will not be renewed. Instead, they will swap over to Mercedes Benz engines – reigniting the long term partnership that they enjoyed between 1995 & 2014.
This means McLaren join fellow British independent team Williams in being Mercedes customers, as well as Racing Point.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown confirmed their deal with Renault won’t be extended, but praised the French manufacturer for helping with stabilising the team after tumultuous years with Honda power: “Renault has been instrumental to our Formula 1 recovery plan and a fantastic partner to McLaren Racing. Despite its understandable focus on its factory team, Renault has always been fair, consistent and transparent in our relationship and we thank the whole team at Viry for the excellent service provided to McLaren in F1 over the past two years. Of course, we enter the final year of our relationship in 2020 and are focused on continuing our challenge together of closing the performance gap to the front of the field.”
Recently signed Team Principal Andreas Seidl agreed, saying: “2021 will be an important milestone for us as a team as we continue our long-term recovery plan and it is vital that we have the core elements in place now, to enable us to properly prepare for the new era of the sport. Renault remains both a valued partner as well as a formidable competitor, and we look forward to continuing our relationship through the rest of this season and next.”
The Mercedes deal will initially run from 2021 to 2024 and, with Mercedes now powering four teams in total, this raises theories about the longevity of the Merc factory team. Rumours have abounded that Daimler may pull the plug on the team, particularly if CEO Toto Wolff opts against continuing in his role when his contract expires at the end of 2020. For now, these are just background rumours, and Wolff says that the signing of McLaren under a Merc supply deal will allow the British team to rise to challenge near the front again: “We are delighted to welcome McLaren back to the Mercedes-Benz racing family with this new power unit supply agreement.”
“Although the two brands share a prestigious history, this new agreement is all about looking to the future and beginning a new era of power unit supply for the years ahead. McLaren have been putting in place the building blocks of their revival over recent seasons, including impressive performances this season with Renault power. We hope that this new long-term agreement marks another milestone for McLaren as they aim to take the fight to the sport’s top teams, including our Mercedes works team.”