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When the founding fathers of the United States plotted their path to independence, they looked for as many ways as possible to reject the English. Benjamin Franklin even suggested changing the language. Fast forward over two centuries and, back in Britain, McLaren is following a similar path.

Once a close collaborator with Mercedes-Benz, the British racing team was the German automaker's team of choice in F1, and was its partner in the SLR program. The working relationship between the two was so close, in fact, that rumors of Daimler's imminent take-over at Woking persisted year after year. But instead they went a different way.

Mercedes-Benz sold its stake in McLaren and bought another F1 team, the SLR was discontinued and each developed their own supercar in-house. And unlike the BMW-powered McLaren F1 supercar and the Mercedes-powered SLR, the new MP4-12C uses McLaren's own, in-house developed 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine.

Based on that critical step, rumors are circulating around the F1 paddock that McLaren's grand prix racing program could also switch to its own engine. The move would break the last tie that exists between the companies once joined at the proverbial hip, and while team principal Martin Whitmarsh reportedly doesn't see it as a likely step, he hasn't ruled the possibility out of the question, either.

[Source: ESPN]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is not news. Ever since they announced that their contract with Mercedes would expire in 2013 this has been accepted as not an unlikely scenario.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I remembered hearing the same. This was going to be inevitable once Mercedes came in and bought Brawn.

        I remember them even having a spat about the "silver arrow" color. Give it time and I think this feud will be even bigger than McLaren and Ferrari's.
        • 4 Years Ago
        *that is, if Mercedes actually has a worthy car to field this year and all this talk of Schumi getting a chassis to suit his driving style is not just fluff...*
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is that an oil filter I see in plain sight? Nice. Just one less thing that you have to get under the car for. Not that people who own a MP4 would actually be changing their own oil but still a nice touch.

      The MP4 has had great reviews so the engine musty be doing their job. Collaborating on design elements is always a good thing, but I think that just shoehorning an engine from another manufacturer into a supercar, kinda lacks creativity and identity. I like the direction McLaren is going. Keep up the good work.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good call. I've had this picture as wallpaper for months now and I never noticed :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        HAHA my Cobalt has the same type of oil filter. It's super easy to change, but you need a huge socket. And you still have to get under the car to drain the oil.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Mercedes engine did a pretty good job for McLaren and Mercedes last year in terms of power and reliability. I don't know if they want to go messing with that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Id love to see this happen! Only if they play second fiddle to Cosworth, though. ;-)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this is great news and a clear signal that McLaren wish to part ways with Mercedes. Can't wait to see what we have in store for their F1 and road cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mclaren should have a bright future in racing. I can't wait to see what the MP4-12C can do in the GT classes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I read the same article via ESPNF1 yesterday. I came to a different conclusion.

      First, consider that they need engines for next year to be competitive. There's no need to step on Mercedes' shoes.

      Second, he was asked this by a German news source about possible split from a German engine (and arguably the best engine in F1) manufacturer. F1 is a very national sport, with the winning driver's National Anthem playing when the team wins.


      Whitmarsh stated ambitions of the team as the reason they won't rule it out. However, the reason for the new regs is to attract new manufacturers. So if we don't see new engine suppliers, etc., then the new regs fail. In that regard, forcing McLaren's hand by making them make engines is a failure of the regs, not of the team's inability to do so.

      TL;DR Don't confuse "don't currently make engines" for "can't make engines." McLaren can do it. If they have to do it, then new regs = fail, because they didn't bring in new engine mfr's.
      • 4 Years Ago
      'Nuff said
      • 4 Years Ago
      2 thoughts:
      1) If Mclaren stick to in-house engines, just chop their own V8 in half into an I4 and molest it all the way into F1 spec.
      2) Repeat history and use Honda's engine since they are so good at I4s (and may be employ Bruno Senna to drive their cars as well).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm pretty sure it's Mercedes giving the push out from McLaren, and not FOM doing it. From the start, it had been pretty clear that Mercedes was going to pull it's resources together and quit licensing their tech. As far as the "nationalistic" push, Mercedes again pushed this regard when they went out and brought in two German drivers (Rosberg and Schumacher) for their "German" cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        German cars, but English engines. Remember that Mercedes got into F1 by buying Illmor (from Mario Illien). I believe that to this day, the F1 engines are still made in the UK.
        I'm sure Dennis and Whitmarsh would have no problem poaching an engineer or twelve from that facility once the contract expires. :-)
        Anyway, I would love for McLaren to make their own engines, but I have a hard time seeing them make an I4 (however supercharged it might be), as it does not align with their road cars' engine requirements. Same reason Ferrari is so pissed about these new engine regs... What use do they have for an I4? :-)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Last year, rumors surfaced that Ron Dennis visited the then freshly closed down, BMW F1 engine plant in Germany. the story was that McLaren would be making its own engines in that plant, possibly spinning it off the old BMW unit.

      however that rumor never gained enough traction, and quickly died down and was never mentioned again.

      I think at the time it was a solid rumor, but shortly after the 2013 regualtion negotiations started and the engine formula will change to an i4...

      perhaps under that light, investing in the outgoing BMW facility and engine was not the brightest of ideas, perhpas Dennis is sleeping on it and already working on an i4 for 2013 so that when they do get there, they are ready to win..

      the engine on the MP4-12C looks like a piece of art...very clinical in its packaging, embodying everything McLaren stand for...

      I never like the racing team much, but i just love their ideology and the car that it has produced.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do it. This was inevitable. Slightly despicable of Mercedes to move out on them like that, but i like this idea of an all McLaren car (not that I'm a big fan, I'm a Williams guy).

      It's about damn time too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Condolences on being a Williams fan:P j/k
        Good to see someone sticking with their team through thick and thin.
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