Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team team boss Toto Wolff revealed that McLaren could have had Mercedes engines for the 2018 season, had negotiations not “dragged on“.
The Silver Arrows boss told ESPN that they had wanted to supply McLaren in the 2018 season, however no resolution was reached in time.
“We wanted to give McLaren an engine, the problem is that it dragged on for a long time and we just didn’t have the structure in place and the capacity to supply them an engine for 2018. It was simply too late.”
It may be too late for the coming season, however Wolff was keen to stress that this doesn’t mean McLaren can never use Mercedes engines – and not only that, but that their door is open to others.
“You must never rule out supplying anybody in the future and this is why McLaren or anyone else in the future could be a partner.”
McLaren have been notoriously vocal in their criticism of their Honda engines over the last three years, even taking opportunities mid-race to blast the manufacturer. Whilst this criticism doesn’t seem to have been a deciding factor in whether Mercedes would supply McLaren with an engine, Wolff says that Red Bull’s criticism of Renault is an example of unprofessional behaviour that would prevent a partnership.
“It is exactly because they are saying it like this and undermining their current partner that they are not having one!” he added.
“In Formula One, like everywhere else in life — be it your private life or business life — it’s about compromise and acknowledging your partner’s strengths and weaknesses and helping each other out.
“That is very much the culture we have at Mercedes and that has made us successful in the last few years.
“Respect is a super important part of our values and this is why we have chosen the partners we have.”
McLaren will have to wait for another shot at Mercedes engines, as they now have a three-year deal with Renault.