Mercedes unwilling to be 'third party' in McLaren-Honda 'divorce'

21/06/2017
NEWS STORY

With speculation over the future of the McLaren-Honda partnership now nearing critical mass, attention turns to who the Woking outfit would turn to going forward.

Hot favourite is Mercedes, which was a long-term partner of McLaren before opting to enter the sport as a constructor, a move which eventually brought about the Woking team's re-partnering with Honda.

While some believe this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix could be the tipping point, others claim that Zak Brown's recent admission of a September deadline, not to mention Eric Boullier's emotive comments post-Canada, signal that the point of no return has already been reached.

Speaking in Geneva at the FIA's Sport Conference, Toto Wolff made it clear that Mercedes does not want to be seen as playing a part in the break-up should it happen.

"We would actually like to see Honda and McLaren sorting out their relationship," he said.

"There's quite some momentum in the market at the moment, which we watch from the side-lines," he added. "This is a position we have put ourselves in because the most important thing is that Honda performs, stays in the sport and has a good deal with its customer teams or works teams. We wouldn't want to interfere, that is our priority."

Asked if preliminary talks had already been held, the Austrian smiled and said: "If you are being considered as the new bride you want the couple to divorce first before you jump into the bed.

"The main priority is for Honda to stay in the sport," he added, "and for Honda to have a functioning relationship with its customers. That's why at the moment we do not wish to dive into this topic."

Currently, Honda also has a deal to supply Sauber in 2018, while yesterday Claire Williams dismissed German media speculation that her team was on the verge of agreeing a deal with the Japanese manufacturer.

As it no longer supplies Manor, Mercedes has the capacity to supply a fourth team next season.

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Published: 21/06/2017
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