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McLaren engine switch for 2021 set to go ahead despite rule change postponement

  • Published on 21 Mar 2020 15:36
  • comments 8
  • By: Coilin Higgins

McLaren is set to continue with its plans to switch engine supplier for the 2021 season according to BBC Sport, despite the agreement to postpone the 2021 rule changes to 2022 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Announced last year, McLaren is set to switch from current suppliers Renault to Mercedes for 2021, a partnership that brought three drivers championships and one constructor's title in the past.

With the decision made by all teams to postpone the new rules into 2022 being made on Thursday, the current regulations will be carried on for an extra year in 2021.

The decision was made by conference call between all teams as well as F1 bosses Chase Carey and Ross Brawn and FIA president Jean Todt, with the teams agreeing to use the 2020 chassis for 2021.

It is understood this decision was taken due to "volatile financial situation created [by the coronavirus crisis], with potential freezing of further components to be discussed in due course".

McLaren made the switch to Renault in 2018, after a disappointing partnership with former suppliers Honda, who the team had unmatched success with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

After a poor season in 2018, McLaren recovered to finish fourth in the constructor's championship with Renault last season, beating Renault's own factory team to the position.

Speaking after the announcement to switch back to Mercedes engines last September, McLaren CEO Zak Brown hoped the switch would help the team continue its move up the grid.

"This agreement is an important step in our long-term plan to return to success in Formula 1," Brown said.

"Mercedes is the benchmark, both as a team and a power unit, so it is natural we would seek to secure a relationship with the company for the next phase of our journey."

Replies (8)

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  • I am really impressed by Brown's leadership - most things he touches are turning to gold right now. The decision to continue to switch over is def the right thing to do - not least as they will get another year to build the relationship with Mercedes and it will do wonders to the kerb appeal of the package - their chassis must be good given they beat the works Renault over a season, now with a more full package in the power dept - it's a great combination. I would imagine when sponsors return to the sport in a year's time it will do wonders for the P&L too. Bravo Brown.

    • + 0
    • Mar 22 2020 - 08:24
    • Agree fully, Brown is the best thing to happen to McLaren.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2020 - 10:00
  • It won't be optimal. Merc' design their packages very carefully to suit their philosophy, so McL will have to race a Merc package in a car adapted for the Renault package, but they'll have to make do.

    • + 0
    • Mar 22 2020 - 10:03
    • Yep, great point.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2020 - 18:32
    • Even then, I still think it will be an improvement on the current PU.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2020 - 19:19
    • In terms of power, general reliability and fuel saving? No doubt... Of course Renault said only Ferrari are better now.. ha..haha... but it'll be at the cost of balance and packaging, and potentially cooling, too.

      • + 0
      • Mar 23 2020 - 06:16
    • Kean

      Posts: 649

      I was thinking it might be a disadvantage given that the cars will be the same for next year, but for McLaren this means a redisign. I think they make their own gear box so the rear suspension should allow for a high rake concept. But weight distribution, cooling all of that will require a redisign. Then it could prove very beneficial for 2022.

      • + 0
      • Mar 23 2020 - 13:22
    • It could be a trade with potential drawbacks (and benefits, of course) for 2021, but for 2022 they'll be having a car fully designed for a Merc' PU, so by then they'll be fine.

      • + 0
      • Mar 23 2020 - 18:06

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