F1: McLaren want 2018 engine decision by September

F1: McLaren want 2018 engine decision by September

McLaren’s Eric Boullier has indicated they ideally need to know by September which engine they will be running in the 2018 season.

The team’s engine plans beyond the end of this year remain uncertain. Just several weeks ago a split from struggling works partners Honda had appeared inevitable, but McLaren’s chances of sourcing an engine from one of F1’s other three suppliers seem to have receded.

With teams already well underway with their designs for next season’s cars, Boullier admits McLaren need to know one way or the other in the next month.

“Technically you could change an engine in 12 weeks,” McLaren’s racing director said at the Hungarian GP.

“If you want to do the very best job then the latest is September, if you want to do the best design.”

A return to Mercedes power had at one stage appeared McLaren’s most likely alternative to Honda.

McLaren: Merc, Ferrari won’t help

But in an interview with Sky Sports News at the British GP, McLaren executive Zak Brown indicated that neither the world champions nor Ferrari were willing to supply McLaren, one of the sport’s most historically successful teams.

“We’re a big team that knows how to win races and championships so I think most of the teams, while it’s a shame to see where we are, they like us where we are,” Brown said.

“They don’t want to get us too close to them which is understandable.”

If that proves the case, then Renault, whose engine is considered the third-best in F1, is therefore the only alternative available to McLaren.

Although Sauber pulled out of a deal to switch to Honda power in 2018 last week, the Japanese manufacturer have repeatedly stressed their commitment to F1 and making their high-profile but troubled partnership with McLaren work.

McLaren recorded their first double points finish of the season at Sunday’s Hungarian GP to move off the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship, but the first two races after the summer break, high-speed Spa and Monza, are set to provide a more accurate guide to the progress Honda have made in recent weeks.

 

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