McLaren and Mercedes-Benz confirm new engine deal from 2021

by Sudha Sundararaj

McLaren Racing and Mercedes-Benz announced a new engine deal starting from the 2021 Formula 1 season. After weeks of behind the scenes negotiations, official confirmation came on Saturday at the Russian Grand Prix.

McLaren will end the three-year partnership with Renault as engine supplier that started in 2018. The Woking-based team was previously supplied by Honda engines for three years from 2015.

The McLaren and Mercedes-Benz engine deal will see the return of the partnership between the two marque entities that ended in 2014. The McLaren challenger was powered by the Mercedes engines in the first year of the new V6 hybrid-engine era.

But the team decided to switch to Honda as their engine supplier in 2015 as it brought with it works team status and rekindled a very successful partnership of the past.

There was high hope that the Woking-based team and the Japanese manufacturer could recreate their successgul partnership from 1988 to1992 which yielded multiple titles. But Honda’s reentry into Formula 1 in the hybrid-engine era with McLaren proved to be problematic from the beginning. 

After three years of a largely unfruitful and troubled relationship, McLarenand Honda announced that by mutual consent they were ending their partnership at the end of the 2017 season.

The McLaren-Renault partnership from 2018 has seen the McLaren team make steady progress and they currently lie in fourth position in the 2019 constructors’ championship.

Formula 1 is set for major regulation changes in 2021 and this offers McLaren a chance to return to the sharp end of the grid. The revival of the engine partnership with Mercedes which has set the standards in the hybrid engine era significantly enhances McLaren’s prospects.

The previous partnership with Mercedes-Benz (1995 to 2014) yielded three drivers’ championships and a constructors’ championship for McLaren.

Zak Brown, Chief Executive of McLaren Racing, announced: “This agreement is an important step in our long-term plan to return to success in Formula 1. Mercedes is the benchmark, both as a team and a power unit, so it is natural we would seek to secure a relationship with the company for the next phase of our journey.

This announcement reflects the confidence of our shareholders and is an important message to our investors, our team, partners and fans that we are committed to returning McLaren to the front of the field.” 

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal of McLaren Racing, joined the team this season. Seidl has brought a sense of calm and purpose to the McLaren team and has put the team firmly on the path to recovery.

Seidl said“2021 will be an important milestone for us as we continue our fight back to the front, so it is vital that we have the key elements in place now to enable us to prepare for the new era of the sport. 

We look forward to renewing our Mercedes relationship from 2021 onwards. At the same time Renault remains both a valued partner as well as a formidable competitor, and we will be focused on continuing our collaboration through the rest of this season and next.” 

Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said: “Since the introduction of the hybrid regulations in 2014, it has been a cornerstone of our strategic approach to lead PU development with our works team and to deliver a benchmark product to our customer teams across the field.

We are therefore delighted to expand our roster of partner teams and especially with an historic brand like McLaren. There is a shared history between the two organisations; and we look forward to achieving success together again in the future.” 

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, concluded: “We are delighted to welcome McLaren back to the Mercedes-Benz racing family with this new power unit supply agreement. Although the two brands share a prestigious history, this new agreement is all about looking to the future and beginning a new era of power unit supply for the years ahead.

McLaren have been putting in place the building blocks of their revival over recent seasons, including impressive performances this season with Renault power. We hope that this new long-term agreement marks another milestone for McLaren as they aim to take the fight to the sport’s top teams, including our Mercedes works team.”

Mercedes already supplies engines to the Williams and the Racing Point F1 teams and their own works team.

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