by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

F1 Gossip: McLaren could switch to Honda power from 2015

Recently, it came to light Honda is planning a return to Formula 1 as engine supplier starting 2015. The Japanese are currently developing their own V6 turbocharged engine according to the new regulations coming into force next season.

Since the news emerged on various motorsports website across the internet, speculation has been intense around the possible F1 team they would offer their services to. McLaren-Mercedes was on top of the rumor list and it seems the Woking-based team is closer than ever to secure a contract with Honda running from 2015.

It is recommended to remind you McLaren has an ongoing partnership with Mercedes-Benz that expires at the end of the 2013 season, but has an option of extension for 2014 and 2015. The current contract was signed in 2011, after the Brits bought back the remaining 10% stake the Germans still had in the company.

While Martin Whitmarsh admits the team will continue in 2014 with Mercedes-Benz power, he does not reveal anything about the season after. Cited by British publication Autosport, the team principal of McLaren-Mercedes revealed: "I can definitely say that we are with them for some time, we have a contract and we have been talking about it for some time. There is nothing to announce at the moment. I can't elaborate any further. We have a contract that covers the next three seasons at the moment and we will certainly go into next year with Mercedes-Benz. We have a long and successful partnership with them."

Indications is talks between McLaren and Honda have reached an advanced stage and a positive decision would likely be taken very soon. In the event the deal gets signed, Mercedes-Benz could experience a win-lose situation: more time to focus on engines, less teams to supply (only two - MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and Force India), less revenue from this business. For McLaren, the lack of visible results in the last seasons could be a tough argument for the switch to Honda, even though the reliability and overall performance of the FO108 unit supplied by Mercedes-Benz cannot be discussed under negative terms whatsoever.

Using the new 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine developed in Brixworth for a single season and switching to Honda the next season needs some delicate analysis on whether it is the right move. Being pushed by the historic success of McLaren-Honda in the 90s without taking into consideration the massive changes Formula 1 went through in the last 5-10 years, as well the absence of the Japanese constructor from competition together with the unsuccessful experience of their fully-owned F1 team, is more than enough to make you think twice. The failed revival of the once iconic Williams-Renault alliance is another strong example that should weigh pretty much in the final decision.

The past synergies do not necessarily perform well in the future as they once did. Hopefully we'll write about McLaren-Mercedes in 2015 as well. :)

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