Zak Brown has dismissed any chance of the McLaren Formula 1 Team building their own engines, despite their relationship with Honda appearing to be strained following a difficult start to 2017.
Poor reliability heavily affected the team’s preparations for the new season, with Stoffel Vandoorne’s thirteenth place finish in the Australian Grand Prix the first time they managed a full race distance, albeit with the Belgian finishing two laps down on race winner Sebastian Vettel.
Despite this, Brown, McLaren’s executive director, insists their focus will be on making cars rather than engines, and that their conversations with Honda remain focused on making progress.
“McLaren Automotive is a different business unit with some common shareholders who we work very closely with,” said Brown on Autosport. “Their engine is a McLaren engine but the F1 team has a different set of economic priorities and ways to go racing so that is not a conversation that we’ve had.
“What we can do in 10 years, who knows? But that is not a conversation. We are not an engine builder, we are a racing team and a car constructor.
“We are very open with Honda. We are working with them on what is the best way to be competitive as quickly as possible, and then ultimately to get back to the ultimate goal of winning the world championship together, so there has not been a real strain in the relationship.
“All our conversations with them have been about how we get out of this situation that we are in.”
Brown insists he is happy for Fernando Alonso to criticise the performance of the car, feeling that the Spaniard will only be happy when winning, and the relationship between team and driver remains strong.
“Fernando wants to be very competitive,” said Brown. “If you look at any world champion driver, they are not satisfied unless they are winning. That is why we have them.
“You would expect him to make comments about competitiveness, so I don’t think that is a surprise or unhealthy.
“It is tough on all of us. We get interviewed a lot, every once in a while you let a little emotion get to you and you say something that gets construed in the wrong way, but the relationship is very healthy.”
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