As the Formula 1 series head toward a significant shift in technical regulations for 2021, the opportunity is usually viewed as a chance to get on top of the new set of rules and make significant gains against the competition and that’s what McLaren are hoping to do with a possible switch back to Mercedes engines.
According to a report at Autosport, the McLaren team are full steam ahead in F1 with a new wind tunnel and a return to Mercedes power. The team had tremendous success from 1995 to 2014 with Mercedes and looks to recapture that glory with a stronger power unit and new regulations that could move it toward the sharp end of the grid.
Mercedes has inked a deal with Williams until 2025 and it currently supplies Racing Point with suggestions that they too will retain the Mercedes contract. Adding McLaren would make a three-team deal for Mercedes on top of their own works team, Mercedes AMG Petronas.
It’s an interesting thought but it would require special permission to supply a total of four team (including themselves) as the regulation currently limit the supply to just three teams. Autosport points out that there is an Appendix 9 in the sporting regulations that could be interpreted in such as way as to allow for four teams without permission. That seems to be a gamble that Mercedes would be prudent to clarify prior to committing.
It’s also an interesting situation for Renault who would be left supplying their own works team and no one else. Honda, once considered the weakest engine on the grid, has now moved to supplying the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams and this would suggest that the Renault engine may not be as desirable as it used to be. Red Bull’s tumultuous relationship with Renault saw it move to Honda this year.
With a dual DNF in the Belgian Grand Prix, McLaren look to avoid such reliability issues—which is why Red Bull left— and a Mercedes deal would go a long way to solving for that. It is also another critical issue and polemic against Renault and Cyril Abiteboul who have had a challenging year in 2019 and now look to lose their only customer.
Editors note: To be fair to Joe, I had seen this article on Autosport but someone pointed out that Joe Saward broke this story and to give credit where it is due, Here is Joe’s story. According to Joe, it’s a done deal, not just talks (He mentioned that to me in a tweet. Thanks Joe!).
Hat Tip: Autosport