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McLaren committed to Mercedes power for 2014 21 Sep 2011

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 12 June 2011 Jonathan Neale (GBR) Mclaren Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 9 April 2011 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 11 September 2011 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 12 June 2011

With a new engine formula to be introduced in 2014, teams' choice of engine supplier have come into sharper focus in recent weeks, with Red Bull signing an enhanced agreement with Renault and Ferrari already professing to be hard at work on their new, fuel efficient 1.6L V6-turbo power unit.

In light of the changes, questions had been asked of the future of McLaren’s partnership with engine supplier Mercedes, but during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-in on Wednesday, managing director Jonathan Neale dismissed such talk and reaffirmed the team’s commitment to their longstanding engine partner.

“We have had a long relationship with Mercedes Benz HighPerformanceEngines at Brixworth,” said Neale. “We know the guys up there really well and we’re a good team. So we are working with them very closely ahead of 2014. Our job, as is theirs, is to make sure that Mercedes has the best engine on the grid and are the best prepared and most ready.

“I’m not going to discuss the contractual terms but I can tell you that there’s an absolute cast-iron guarantee that it’s our intention to stay with Mercedes Benz as we transition to the next generation of engines. They are our engine partner. We very much like working with them and want to do so for many years to come.”

Since joining forces back in 1995, McLaren and Mercedes have clinched four drivers’ championships and 68 victories together, but with a Mercedes works team now back on the grid there was a risk McLaren could start to feel at a disadvantage. Neale, however, rejected that was the case.

“It’s not a concern or an issue for us at all,” he explained. “The one thing that ourselves, Mercedes GP and Mercedes Benz HighPerformanceEngines want is for Mercedes to have the best engine in 2014. The fact that they can draw on technical contributions and know-how from their partners should only make them stronger.

“Our job, as is theirs, is to make sure that Mercedes has the best engine on the grid and are the best prepared and most ready. I don’t feel in any way that we are being disadvantaged or being held at arm’s length.”

Following the recent expansion of McLaren's road car business with the new MP4-12C, there have also been reports that the team could move towards in-house engine development. Neale, however, suggested such stories are wide of the mark.

“I think that sometimes when people look at the McLaren Group as a whole - and the way that the road platform is developing - then I think in that domain there are lots of what-if’s and maybe’s,” he concluded.

“But we shouldn’t confuse that with what’s going on with the engine development programme. Our focus is very much around our engine department at Mercedes Benz, who do a first class job for us, and we expect to be an intimate and high performance partner for them.”

McLaren are currently second in the 2011 constructors’ standings with 325 points, 126 behind leaders Red Bull and 71 ahead of third placed Ferrari. The Mercedes works team are fourth on 108.

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