Next stop on the F1 rumor mill: McLaren’s plans to purchase the BMW engine department, with a view to perhaps getting crossover benefits for the road car division.
Martin Whitmarsh, however, had a simple response:
This rumor has been thrust upon us from outside, as a possible option for our future. However, we have no plans to buy BMWâ€™s engines.
Norbert Haug, meanwhile, sings an identical tune: (my translation)
Regardless of the rumors pervading the paddock, the cooperation between McLaren and Mercedes is better than ever.
Nevertheless, the rumors persist, and Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport remain at the centre of it, as the first to report on the issue. This Crash.net article picks up on the original Auto Motor und Sport report, which claimed that McLaren had contacted BMW on the issue. That, however, has now been replaced on the original German site by a report on Whitmarsh’s denial, which still continues to explore all the reasons why it would be a good idea. So I shall try to paraphrase them…
The reasoning being employed is Mercedes’ increased involvement with Brawn, coupled with the long-time rumors about the engine supplier’s discontent with McLaren’s, umm, propensity for controversy. (Sorry Grace.)
Furthermore, BMW are supposedly prepared to sell the department, unsurprisingly as they have already sold the rest of the operation and Formula Qadbak/Hinwil F1 team/Super Mario Brothers have already announced that they will be running Ferrari lumps.
Then Auto Motor und Sport link the interest to Ron Dennis and the McLaren road car division – pointing out that McLaren is building its own engine for its new MP4-12C. They claim to have heard from motoring circles that Dennis had inquired directly in Munich as to BMW’s readiness to sell the engine department.
This strikes me as unlikely, primarily because of Mercedes 40% stake in the (I imagine entirely profitable) McLaren Mercedes outfit. Why would you leave without a healthy buyout? Surely this season has shown Husky Norbert that diversification (coupled with a good engine, of course) is the perfect F1 insurance policy?
This could well be a big bunch of silliness, but it still seemed worth a mention. Hope I explained it more clearly (and with fewer mistakes) than the Suzuka grid penalty debacle.
One final afterthought, Whitmarsh has today voiced his concern over the (currently) BMW team’s future, considering the Qadbak investment. Evidently, he is at least following the saga.