Merc wary of exposure of IP to Honda

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McLaren have yet to determine their future engine supplier beyond 2014 but many suggest that Honda will make a triumphant return to Formula One as the shove behind the Woking-based team’s cars in 2015.

Should that be the case, AUTOSPORT rightfully points out that Honda, via McLaren, could be privy to the new Mercedes 2014 V6 Turbo engine as the team is slated to run the spec next year. Speaking to the press, Mercedes motor sport boss Toto Wolff said:

“I am not sure it is completely done yet, so we are still negotiating with them and hoping for an extension beyond 2014.

“If we cannot get this commitment it is going to be essential for us to guarantee that there is no chance of IP [cross over].

That would be a bur under the saddle blanket to be sure and I would be intrigued as to what Mercedes could do to safeguard their IP in this situation. Contractually it may be more beneficial to pay McLaren to walk away from the contract for 2014 in order to protect your IP and ensure that the team doesn’t have the measure of the Merc lump ahead of their Honda partnership.

That much easier than it sounds, actually, as there are thousands of words in those documents to prevent such situations but if there was a loop hole, legally speaking, and Merc could pay McLaren to leave, that would bring up another big issue… what would McLaren use in 2014 if Honda isn’t slated to enter until 2015?  Would Honda step up their entry date? Could be an interesting turn of events.

This would also come on the heels of the bad news that Vodafone is not returning next year as McLaren’s title sponsor. It is unclear on who the team will get to replace the communications giant but if I know Mr. Ron Dennis, the situation is well in hand.

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