McLaren hushed over engine future
31 January 2012 – McLaren has played down the possibility of splitting with engine partner Mercedes-Benz at the end of the 2013 Formula 1 season. Over recent months, the Woking team has been connected with both Honda and the new PURE company in relation to the sport's new new engine era.
The new era begins in 2014 and will see the introduction of 1.6-litre, V6 turbo units, replacing 2.4-litre V8s. Earlier this month, PURE's Craig Pollock told GPUpdate.net that the chances of McLaren and Mercedes splitting before 2014 are high:
“Norbert Haug (Vice President for Motorsport, Mercedes-Benz) in an engine supply meeting with the FIA said that, ‘If we have to we will supply one more team, but that team is going to have to pay full price.’ So the message was very clear that McLaren were going to have to pay full whack for their engine supply. In 2012 they’ve got a free engine supply and in 2013 they will be supplied by Mercedes, because basically they have to. But in 2014 it’s going to be a tough one.”
Pollock added that PURE could be a possibility for any team in 2014 bar Ferrari and Mercedes, with McLaren having already denied earlier rumours of a new Honda link-up. When quizzed about engine supply by Reuters, a McLaren spokesman replied:
“McLaren has had absolutely no contact with PURE for many months. Moreover, the contact we did have with PURE, many months ago, was of an entirely informal nature and was merely a courtesy gesture.”
When speaking with GPUpdate.net on Tuesday, Pollock reiterated that PURE is not engaged in full negotiations with McLaren.
“It is correct that I visited McLaren with Gilles Simon towards the end of last year with the purpose of informing them of the status of the PURE engine project and that is as far as the contact has gone,” he explained. “When we are ready for the next update we will contact (Team Principal) Martin Whitmarsh at that time. McLaren are clear and concise in their statement to the press. As has been the case since last year, all doors remain open bar Ferrari and the Mercedes works team with regards to a possible PURE engine supply for 2014.”
McLaren has been in a partnership with Mercedes since 1995, having previously run with Ford engines. At the end of 2009, Mercedes purchased Brawn GP and converted it into Mercedes GP, selling its remaining shares in McLaren soon after.