McLaren celebrate 250th GP with Mercedes-Benz

By Ewan Marshall

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has paid tribute to Mercedes-Benz ahead of a historic moment for the partnership, this weekend.

The European Grand Prix will mark the 250th race McLaren have competed in with Mercedes as their engine supplier and technical partner.

Speaking to Forumula1.com, the McLaren team principal took time to reflect on the Woking team s relationship with Mercedes over the past thirteen years.

“It’s been a very long standing relationship. It started purely within Formula One,” Whitmarsh said.

“Clearly they have been a very important partner of several of the businesses in the McLaren Group: Formula One as well as McLaren automotive. The relationship has grown and developed significantly during that long period of time, its evolved in various ways. They’ve been tremendously supportive of McLaren through the peaks and troughs of the excitement and disappointment which occurs in Formula One.”

“Inevitably when we are not having the success that we expect of ourselves, that brings pressures into the partnership. But that is understood and I think very reasonable.”

Whitmarsh also said that he thought that Mercedes involvement with McLaren has also been of benefit to Formula One as a whole, with the German Manufacturer playing peacemaker in a number of key political situations and always being willing to assist fellow competitors.

“They are committed to being in Formula One,” Whitmarsh explained, “They’ve been very supportative of FOTA, they’ve been willing to provide engines to other Formula One teams. I think they’ve been a great stabilising, moderating force in Formula One. They also have developed a very competitive engine, they understand, now, what the important attributes of an engine are, so we are very fortunate to have them as a partner.”

As the partnership continues to grow stronger and progress into the future, Whitmarsh also added that the cooperation between the two sides has been just as beneficial to Mercedes as it has for his own team.

“We’ve been working together for a long period of time, we know each quite very well”, said Whitmarsh, “I spent a period of time actually running their racing engine business. I personally know it quite well.”

“The nature of Mercedes Benz management, is that they are… committed to racing. They want to win for their brand and for our brand and it is important to have success together.”

“On a technical level, then I think we’ve got a seamless cooperation with engineers, seconded between Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart. We share a lot of common systems…recording, methodology…We share the same simulation tools, they use Mclaren simulation tools. So I think we have a lot of benefit that s developed because both sides have worked hard together over the term of the partnership to make it successful.”

With one of the most successful partnerships in Formula One, Mclaren-Mercedes will now hope to continue to make progress for the remainder of the season, with the intention of fighting for both championships, next year.