Russian Grand Prix – Rumour suggests that McLaren are on the verge of switching back to Mercedes power from 2021, re-igniting their partnership.
Breaking reports from reputable media sources in the paddock suggest that McLaren will shortly announce their customer deal with Renault will be coming to an end, in order to switch back to Mercedes-Benz power.
McLaren were powered by Mercedes as the defacto ‘factory’ team between 1995 & 2014, before swapping to Honda power in 2015 as then team boss Ron Dennis attempted to forge a new works relationship with the Japanese marque. This was due to Mercedes becoming successful with their own factory team and McLaren being ‘just another customer team’, a downgrade from their years of being closely aligned with the German marque under Daimler.
However, with Honda and McLaren resulting in a disastrous few years of unreliability and underperformance from both sides, McLaren severed ties with Honda to switch to Renault. The deal was a three year supply to run between 2018 and 2020.
Williams recently announced that they have signed a new supply deal with Mercedes from the end of 2020 – now running with Merc power until the end of 2025. Team contract negotiations with Mercedes, then, are clearly underway and Joe Saward reports that McLaren are set to announce a switch back to their former long-term partner.
Saward cites that the recent management change with Andreas Seidl now Team Principal is encouraging new ideas on how to propel the team forward, and may be eager to run the best possible customer engine available to them. With Ferrari currently supplying two customer teams, as well as their own cars, a ‘McLaren-Ferrari’ tie-up seems unlikely, and somewhat unthinkable considering the two teams historic and long-standing rivalry.
For now, the report is unconfirmed. A deal confirming their engine supplier for 2021 and beyond is unlikely to be far away, considering the extensive, and unconfirmed, regulation changes mean that a design team will already be putting a basic plan together for that year.