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McLaren-BMW engine deal sparks F1 rumours

F1 journalists are wondering if McLaren’s works relationship with Honda could be on unsteady ground.

The British team made progress in 2016, but the now more than two year relationship with Honda following the Japanese carmaker’s return to F1 has been otherwise troubled.

So it is with interest that some commentators digested this week’s news that McLaren’s road car making arm is teaming up with BMW on an engine project.

“This is an exciting project that plays to the strengths of all partners,” said McLaren Automotive chief Mike Flewitt.

But already, some are wondering if the new McLaren-BMW partnership could eventually lead to a foray in formula one.

Manuel Franco, the correspondent for the Spanish sports daily AS, said he has heard rumours that BMW is in fact working on a “V6 turbo”, which is the configuration of today’s F1 power units.

“It is also inevitable to recall that there was recently talk of BMW’s return to F1, and that there may be a secret hybrid V6 turbo project ready to launch,” Franco said.

BMW pulled out of F1 after 2009, following a works foray with Sauber.

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4 Comments
  • rho88

    I say BS. The original McLaren F1 road car also had a BMW engine… while the F1 team at that time was running a Mercedes engine. Not to mention during the development of the F1, McLaren was winning everything in F1 with a Honda engine. I believe Honda was asked back then to built the engine for the Mclaren road car and they said no, so McLaren turned to BMW. So this is nothing more than history repeating itself.

  • Roger Flerity

    For the road car business, image is everything. You want to pay $1MM for a car with a Honda motor in it? Honda does not have a reputation as a powerful engine producer, but that imagery means little to McLaren in F1. BMW has a fantastic reputation as a powerful engine producer, and cache as a brand Honda does not have, which means a lot to its road car customers. Then there is the question of how long will Honda remain in F1 if it continues to embarrass itself like it has so far? McLaren may also be covering itself, aligning with a partner it can draw into F1 if (when) Honda bails out of F1 to save face.

  • Skid Solo

    Pure speculative sensationalism. You can bet there’s some really solid contracts between Mclaren and Honda. There’s no way Honda would risk spending Millions of Dollars developing a F1 engine for Mclaren, if Mclaren could dump them anytime they felt like it. There’ll be solid guarantees in place. And with only 3 years left on the current V6 Turbo – Hybrid engine rules, there’s no way BMW is going spend all that money on an F1 engine that may become obsolete in a couple of years time. There’s no pay pay-back or return on investment for BMW over such a short period. I suspect that the Honda engine will remain in the back of the Mclaren for the foreseeable future, at least until the engine rules change.

  • Tiago Santos

    I don’t understand. Imagine that this year Mclaren wins the championship. Will they make promotion to Mclaren’s cars fitted with an engine made with BMW, with the F1 car that have an Honda engine?

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