McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has attempted to neutralize the talk of a possible Honda/McLaren mashup for 2015 after the BBC alleged it was a real deal. The recent exodus of Lewis Hamilton and son-to-be-gone Paddy Lowe has some wondering just how much more poaching McLaren are going to put up with before they severe their long-standing ties with Mercedes.
As it is, McLaren have a contract with MErcedes with an option for 2014 and the suggestion is that Honda will make their triumphant return to the sport as an engine supplier in 2015 with McLaren. Martin told the press:
“There’s a lot of speculation and I’ve heard Porsche, Hyundai, Honda, all those sorts of names,” he said.
“I hope for Formula 1 that these manufacturers come back – we need them in the sport. At the moment we’ve got Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari; we need more engine suppliers.
“We’ve got a good and long-standing commitment to Mercedes-Benz, that’s what we’re focused on right now.
“In the longer term who knows what’s going to happen? We’re delighted to be partnering Mercedes-Benz. They’ve done, certainly in the last few years, a fantastic job and we’ve won a lot of races together and we’re going to try and win quite a few more in the next few years.”
It’s a typical response from a group that is weighing all their options in the search for an engine maker… any engine maker as long as it isn’t Mercedes. You can understand the need for decorum here and to remain positive about their relationship as the Merc is critical to their success.
On another note, we discussed this on the podcast I recently did with Steve Matchett as well as our weekly podcast here and how having only three engine suppliers seems limiting given the sport that is Formula One. I, for one, would love to see more engine suppliers in F1 and I echo Martin’s sentiment. Porsche, VW, Mazda, Nissan and more. Why not?
The 2014 regulation changes could lure engine makers back to the sport with a V6 turbo engine… or so that’s the hope. McLaren and Honda? I like it.