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Seidl the driving force behind McLaren engine switch

NEWS STORY
29/09/2019

After its years in the F1 wilderness, McLaren is finally showing signs of becoming a force again.

OK, as it currently stands, the 8-time constructors' and 12-time drivers' title winners don't look likely to add to their tally any time soon, but following those nightmare couple of seasons with Honda the Woking outfit does appear to be on the ascendant once again, and should F1 get its way and level the playing field as planned... who knows what the future may hold for the sport's second most experienced team.

The news that the Woking outfit is to switch from Renault power units to Mercedes, albeit as a customer and not a partner, makes sense, and according to CEO, Zak Brown, Sporting Director, Andreas Seidl was the driving force behind the move.

"I now have my leadership team complete with Andreas running our F1 team," the American told reporters. "I asked him when he joined, 'What to do we need to do to get back to the front?', and he quickly came back with recommendations like the new wind tunnel that you're aware of.

"He also led the decision on the power unit," he added. "It was of course a group decision, but one that was driven by Andreas."

While rekindling an old relationship proved unsuccessful in terms of Honda, Brown is confident that 're-partnering' with Mercedes, with whom it won three drivers' and one constructors' title, not to mention 78 Grands Prix, is the way to go.

"When you look at Mercedes they have been the benchmark in the hybrid era as a power unit provider both in power and reliability," he said. "And of course the racing team itself is the benchmark in this decade.

"So to have what we believe is the best engine behind our race car and ultimately chasing what we think is the best team in F1 at the moment is a good place for McLaren to be in our desire to get back to the front."

At a time Seidl has called on Renault for transparency, Brown points to Mercedes as an example of a manufacturer that treats its customers equally.

"I'm very confident that Mercedes supplies... you can look at all the telemetry and you can see it's clear that what's in Mercedes' is the same that's in the Williams and the Racing Point, so if we do a very good job with our team, execute and the drivers do a good job, I think we can succeed, but you're going to have to be on your A-game."

Of course, Mercedes had previously been approached by McLaren and Red Bull in terms of an engine supply, but had turned them down, so what changed from Mercedes' point of view.

"The situation has changed a little bit," says Toto Wolff. "We were always very strict straight from the beginning that we said we want to give 100% concentration on our works team. Then we stepped a little bit away from that by supplying Manor so we had three customers back in the day and we realised that it was an advantage to have more power units out there."

Asked if he fears that McLaren could become a threat to his works team, the Austrian smiles: "There is one risk in this: that is if McLaren do a good job they will push us hard and maybe benchmark us in a way to say 'OK we are on the same power, you guys are not doing a good enough job'. But where we are now after seven years in the hybrid era we feel we are ready for that step."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Hondaunearthed, 29/09/2019 12:48

"I agree something else is involved. I wander, considering some statements the last couple of weeks, do Renault plan to leave?"

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2. Posted by Lapps, 29/09/2019 8:23

"McLaren going back to Merc is easily understood. What is more interesting, is why the announcement was made now? There is some other dynamic involved. "

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