A depressed looking Peter Pedromou (MCL32 designer) behind McLaren garage Barcelona
Having spent quite some time in the paddock over the years, at times the wild rumours that circulate at times among the F1 folk – really do beggar belief. And today’s is up there with the best of them.
There’s a whisper beginning to circulate late morning on day 3 of winter testing here in Barcelona which suggests McLaren have spoken with another engine manufacturer about a supply of power units for THIS YEAR.
In reality, the logistics of this kind of move are close to unthinkable – and there would have to be performance penalty release clauses in the deal McLaren have with Honda at present for this to even be possible. Yet in a way this rumour is hardly surprising given the woeful start to pre-season testing Honda have made again.
Interestingly, because of a recent rule change – were McLaren to ditch Honda, one of the other three engine manufacturers would be forced by the FIA to supply the Woking based team. There are though lead time clauses written into the regulation which mean the MacHonda would survive as a partnership for at least the first flyaway races.
Importing a new engine into the MCL32 would not be too physically problematic since the hybrid turbo power unit mountings are fixed by FIA regulations – specifically with a view to making engine supplies easily transferable.
However, the driveability of a MacMerc or Mac-Renault would most likely be ugly – but then again Ross Brawn pulled it off in 2009 with a late switch to Mercedes power when Honda pulled out of Formula One.
And we all remember how that turned out.
One reason an impending MacHonda divorce is unlikely before the end of the season, is due to the $100m or so sponsorship McLaren is presently receiving from Honda.
The rumour allegedly finds its source in one Fernando Alonso – and if THAT is true – its probably just the Spaniard venting his spleen in frustration at what may be for him another year of GP3 racing against other drivers in F1 machinery.
At the time of publication, McLaren have managed 25 laps this morning with a best time some 4 seconds off the pace of the Mercedes.
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