McLaren is trying to switch to Renault engines for the next few years, after their poor performance with their current partner the Japanese manufacture Honda.
But McLaren’s Zak Brown has not downplayed the chances of McLaren building their own engines from 2021 with the new regulations. Zak Brown said that McLaren will need to know in advance the changes that will be made in 2021 in order for the Woking based team to build their own power unit for Formula 1.
“We’re interested to see what the new engine formula is in 2021 – and whether we consider doing our own engine, or whether other people would come in under new rules,” said Brown.
“So right now we’ve got to focus on the next three years and, as soon as we get that figured out, then yeah, of course we’ve got to look.
“I think the landscape in Formula 1 is going to change in a very positive way from ’21 onwards, with budget caps, revenue redistribution, and new engine rules. So it’s a little hard to take any decisions on ’21 with so many things that will change.”
“For us to do our own engine, that’s not something we’ve done before – so that would require a good lead time and some good capital expenditure,” he explained.
“We’d consider doing it. We just need to have an understanding of the platform, what are the rules, and what is it going to cost.
“We certainly wouldn’t be in a position to spend the hundreds of millions that it takes now to develop engines, so they’re going to have to change the engine formula for it to be something that economically would be viable for us.”
However, Brown ultimately thinks the best way forward for F1 would be to attract an independent supplier which could guarantee a competitive engine.
“We’d be very much in favour of there being an independent, competitive engine, not just an engine that makes up the numbers,” he said.
“The manufacturers are great, I fully embrace them. But it would be healthy for the sport, like it’s been in the past, to have an independent engine that teams can use should they choose, and it be a competitive engine. That’s key.
“The last time around Cosworth was in, and at the end they weren’t competitive. So it doesn’t work to just have an independent engine if it’s not something that you can win races with.”