McLaren play down Honda engine rumours

McLaren have dismissed reports the F1 team could reunite with Honda power for F1’s new V6 engine era in 2014.

After next year, the Woking based squad will start paying for its Mercedes engines. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reported that Honda – having pulled its works team out of F1 at the end of 2008 – could fill the void for McLaren by returning to the sport and rekindling the ultra-successful past partnership.

“That’s all wide of the mark,” McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale, also denying that the team has been in talks with any other carmakers, told reporters on Wednesday. “We are very happy with and enjoying our partnership with Mercedes-Benz,” he added during a teleconference, according to F1’s official website.

“We aren’t quite sure where that story came from in truth. But I can stop the rumour and say that we are entirely focused on our Mercedes-Benz relationship. It is a long one spanning many wins and championships and long may it continue,” added Neale, less than two weeks after Lewis Hamilton’s win last time out in Abu Dhabi.

But with Mercedes no longer a McLaren co-owner, and indeed now with its own works team, there are fears McLaren might be a Mercedes ‘customer team’ beyond 2012.

Also amid Red Bull’s ever-deepening relationship with Renault, Neale insisted: “I don’t think that’s a concern. Of course Mercedes have their own team and it’s right and proper that a degree of focus is going in that direction. They are formidable technical partners and we enjoy that relationship.”


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