McLaren Open to Building Own Engines in Formula 1 for 2021

Zak Brown says McLaren could build their own engines in 2021, providing costs go down - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The McLaren Formula 1 Team says it would consider producing its own Formula 1 engines when the new regulations come into play in 2021, but only if the costs come down.

The Woking based team are potentially looking to finalise a switch from Honda engines to Renault for the next few years, but knows there’ll be other opportunities for the long term.

Speaking to at the Italian Grand Prix, McLaren executive director Zak Brown said the engine format could drastically change when the new regulations come in four years time.

“We’re interested to see what the new engine formula is in 2021 – and whether we consider doing our own engine, or whether other people would come in under new rules,” said Brown.

“So right now we’ve got to focus on the next three years and, as soon as we get that figured out, then yeah, of course we’ve got to look. I think the landscape in Formula 1 is going to change in a very positive way from ’21 onwards, with budget caps, revenue redistribution, and new engine rules.”

Brown said McLaren would need to know in advance about the new rules before deciding what to do with the engine side of the sport.

“For us to do our own engine, that’s not something we’ve done before – so that would require a good lead time and some good capital expenditure,” Brown explained.

“We’d consider doing it. We just need to have an understanding of the platform, what are the rules, and what is it going to cost? We certainly wouldn’t be in a position to spend the hundreds of millions that it takes now to develop engines, so they’re going to have to change the engine formula for it to be something that economically would be viable for us.”

The sport aims to introduce brand new cheaper, nosier alternatives to the current V6 turbo hybrids, with Aston Martin, Cosworth and Porsche showing an interest in entering the sport in 2021, and Brown believes the best way forward for F1 would be to attract independent suppliers that could guarantee a competitive engine.

“We’d be very much in favour of there being an independent, competitive engine, not just an engine that makes up the numbers,” said Brown.

“The manufacturers are great, I fully embrace them. But it would be healthy for the sport, like it’s been in the past, to have an independent engine that teams can use should they choose, and it be a competitive engine. That’s key.”