Until recently, the German automaker even owned a stake in McLaren – a partnership that extended beyond the racing circuit to produce the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren as well. Daimler has since divested from the team, though, opting to buy instead the Brawn team that was once Honda's and leaving many to wonder how much longer Stuttgart and Woking would continue working together.
Well, we just may have our answer. According to the latest reports, McLaren is committed to staying with Mercedes-Benz for the foreseeable future – not only through the end of its current contract (which expires in 2015 and would take them through the swap to turbocharged V6 engines in 2014), but for years to come.
This would seem to put an end to earlier speculation that McLaren could distance itself from Mercedes by either building its own engines in-house (as it has done with its latest road cars) or acquiring another team's engine operations (like those recently shuttered by BMW, Toyota or Honda).
McLaren's team leaders also dismissed any concerns that the Mercedes GP team could get preferential treatment from Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines (the outfit founded by GM and Roger Penske as Ilmor Engineering and which now builds Mercedes' F1 engines). They are, after all, separate enterprises that happen to share a name and common parent company, but not facilities, making the relationship between the Mercedes team and its engine supplier about as close as it is to McLaren, with which it's been collaborating for over sixteen years.