Latest news are revealing that, McLaren have ‘sounded out’ Mercedes over potential supply deal, the news sources also confirmed that, if it concludes that it is best to parting with existing partner Honda.
On the face of it, the Anglo-Japanese collaboration is set for a third consecutive tough campaign as Honda grapples with the new design of its power unit.
The BBC says that the difficulties have now led McLaren to consider what it should do for 2018 and beyond, and it has already had what is described as an “informal and brief” approach to Mercedes.
McLaren declined to elaborate on the speculation regarding Mercedes, but said that all avenues were being looked at.
“Winter testing was challenging and disappointing, we are working with Honda to address shortcomings and deficiencies. Together with Honda we are considering options, but we will not comment on media speculation.” said a spokesman.
Team boss Eric Boullier told the Spanish daily AS that the McLaren chassis is “good”.
“I don’t know if the engine will be able to compete with Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, but if we have a good engine we can be competitive. Otherwise not, it’s that simple,” said the Frenchman.
As for Alonso’s expiring contract, the fact the Spaniard recently said he will race beyond his 2017 deal has been interpreted by some as an invitation for other teams to tempt him away from McLaren-Honda.
“People say a lot of things,” said Boullier, “but I think Fernando is being honest with us just like we are with him.
“He likes this new F1, and the next step is to be more competitive. If we are competitive, he will be happy.”
As for whether talks about 2018 have started, Boullier answered: “Yes, but it’s too soon. But of course we have spoken.”
Finally, Boullier was asked how many times he has wondered where McLaren would be in the pecking order if it had stayed with Mercedes power beyond 2014.
“Let’s just say a few times,” he laughed.
Asked if McLaren would be winning races, Boullier added: “I think so. Yes, we would be winning again.”