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McLaren admits customer engine talks

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A switch to customer Mercedes power appears to be back on the menu at McLaren.

A week ago, it seemed that McLaren and Honda were stepping away from the precipice of looming divorce.

But now at Silverstone, McLaren director Jonathan Neale says the current situation with Honda struggling for performance and reliability is “not sustainable”.

“I think naturally we reach a point of inflection with Honda where we ask ourselves ‘Where do we go from here?’ ‘What do we have to do differently to restore that level of competitiveness?'”

So the latest buzz in the Silverstone pitlane is that the decision has definitely been made to dump Honda, with the last hurdle being the extraction from a binding contract.

It seems McLaren’s preferred alternative for 2018 is customer Mercedes power, but there have also been rumours of talks with Renault and Ferrari, too.

“In F1, when anybody says they’re not talking to anybody, the answer is everybody’s talking to everybody,” admitted Neale.

But another hurdle is the F1 rules.

Currently, Mercedes already supplies to its own works team in addition to Williams and Force India, so a fourth would require a rules tweak.

“You’re right,” said Neale. “In order for an engine manufacturer to supply more than three teams it does require FIA approval.

“We are making sure that we maintain our good relationships with FOM and the FIA while we work through a difficult situation.”

Alonso has ‘nothing to say’ about future

The Spaniard Fernando Alonso has “nothing to say” about his future.

In the few days between Austria and Silverstone, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has played down reports Alonso might return, while McLaren’s Eric Boullier said the British team needs a fully committed driver for 2018.

And Flavio Briatore, involved in Alonso’s management, was quoted as saying McLaren needs a “revolution” in order to convince the Spaniard to stay.

“Marchionne? Nothing to say. Flavio? Nothing to say — and I read something else today too. Nothing to say,” Alonso told Spanish media at Silverstone.

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