McLaren Could Develop Own Engine in F1
After Red Bull Racing, now McLaren has hinted that it fancies such a project from 2013 onwards, especially since the British company has just finished developing its own 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 engine for the new MP4-12C production sports car.
Although it split with Mercedes at the end of the 2009 season, McLaren still uses the V8s produced by the German carmaker in the series. However, even though the engine partnership between McLaren and Mercedes extends all the way to 2015, their collaboration could end should the British company decide to put money into an F1 engine programme of their own.
“We are ruling nothing out, because we are an ambitious team,” admitted McLaren's team principal Martin Whitmarsh in a recent interview with Motor Sport. “Formula One is the third largest sporting event in the world and the best environment for brands to differentiate.”
However, the British official did admit that based on how things look at the moment, investing a whole lot of money into a brand new engine programme that would only serve the company's F1 purposes doesn't sound like too much of a business.
“But if I'm honest, we have no plans to build more than 4,500 (MP4-12C) units per year. Comparing the cost (of producing a F1 engine) with the 4,500, then that's probably not the right business model.”
In addition, Whitmarsh admitted that the main reason why the FIA and the FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) agreed to the new engine rules is related to the potential entry of some new car makers, rather than existing team developing their own engine. And unless new manufacturers will join the series in 2013, the turbo era would have no sense, he hinted.
“If it does not attract any new car manufacturers (to F1), one of the main goals of the new regulations will have been missed,” concluded Whitmarsh.