McLaren's Formula One cars have been powered by Mercedes-Benz engines since 1995, but that could soon come to an end. The relationship between Daimler and McLaren has become increasingly strained over the past two years, following the Spygate scandal and the automaker's decision to have AMG build the SLS.
With BMW withdrawing from Formula One at the close of this season, the hot rumor in the paddock at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend is that McLaren chairman Ron Dennis is considering scooping up rival BMW F1's engine-building operations. Mercedes supplies engines to the this year's likely champions, the Brawn team, and a split with McLaren would allow MB to concentrate its efforts there.
McLaren's Middle Eastern investors reportedly support the move, which would allow the team to join Ferrari, Renault (if the French team remains in F1) and Toyota in building its own chassis and engine. Apparently, BMW's deal to sell the Sauber F1 team doesn't include the engine operation in Munich, leaving McLaren free to make its move.