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A new twist in the McLaren saga

NEWS STORY
08/09/2017

As the saga of McLaren's engine plans for 2018 rumbles on and on and on - and given a further twist with today's observation that Fernando Alonso has removed all references to the Woking outfit from his social media accounts and website - Zak Brown (groan) has revealed that from 2021 the team could build its own engines.

"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," he is quoted as saying by Autosport.

"Right now we've got to focus on the next three years and, as soon as we get that figured out, we've got to look," he adds, in a masterpiece of understatement.

"I think the landscape in Formula 1 is going to change in a very positive way from '21 onwards," he insists, "with budget caps, revenue redistribution, and new engine rules. So it's a little hard to take any decisions on '21 with so many things that will change.

"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," he adds, again venturing way beyond the realms of understatement

"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."

Indeed, last time we heard, McLaren was seeking investment not to build its own engines but to pay off Ron Dennis who had secured 13 of the company's most prized and historic F1 cars as collateral as he awaited on the next instalment of the 275m owed for his shares in the company.

Furthermore, if McLaren does end its agreement with Honda, other than the end of the current cash-flow from the Japanese manufacturer into the Woking coffers, there is talk that Honda might take legal action for the broken contract.

All of which leaves one wondering where the cash to develop and build a McLaren F1 engine would come from, even if the costs do come down, which, in all honesty, appear to be the least of the team's problems.

At times, and we really don't want to kick anyone when they're down, not least one of the sport's most iconic teams, it really does seem that some elements at Woking have lost the plot and are no longer living in the real world.

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1. Posted by Schnauzers, 09/09/2017 17:25

""Build your own engine" is quite a loose expression in F1 terms. McLaren did do this before, by giving Porsche money to build an engine to McLaren's spec and it was exclusive to them. Currently they "build their own engines for their road cars". Just to what extent? Design is "collaborative", manufacture "farmed out".

P.S. How could RD 'buy back' if he hasn't been fully paid in the first place?"

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2. Posted by F One, 09/09/2017 14:26

"Honda could quite rightly sue McLaren into oblivion if they break the contract."

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3. Posted by itcatip, 08/09/2017 19:19

"Given the way results, sponsorship and finances have all gone downhill recently, will McLaren even be there in 2021? Maybe Ron Dennis will do a Bernie and buy it back for a fraction of what he sold it for....."

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4. Posted by NS Biker, 08/09/2017 17:38

"This is showing the signs of a Chess match being played out.
Decisions are being made to (dream-up) a new engine (sorry, Power Unit) spec for 2021 and beyond. While it looks like McLaren are planning to jump into the deep end, but are they really serious ?? or is this posturing to push the FIA into a simpler, less expensive (not cheap) power unit that could be competitively designed and built by the likes of McLaren, Cosworth, Porsche etc..... or some combination.
If anyone is seriously planning to develop a (competitive) power unit for 2021, when do they need to start .... soon I expect. End of 2018 is likely getting late.
Ask Mr. Honda how long it takes."

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