Engine Deals: McLaren in talks with Renault

McLaren is talking with Renault to explore buying their customer engines for next year.

With a lack of reliable progress from Honda, McLaren is reviewing its options on sticking with the Japanese manufacturer or go with Renault, the only practical alternative at this point.

Renault is still unsure of the deal as adding McLaren would mean they will have to supply to a fourth customer next year, which is currently not allowed. They are already supplying to Red Bull, Toro Rosso and their own works team.

There is a chance that Toro Rosso might switch to Honda next year. But the deal is not yet set and the last negotiation went nowhere.

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault F1 managing director, speaking during the Belgian GP Free Practice admitted to the talks but suggested the deal may not go through.

“The situation is we have a multi-year contract with Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso,” said Abiteboul.

“So frankly we are open to discussions. I can confirm there have been discussions with McLaren, but right now there is a restriction in the regulation if we wanted to supply more than three teams.

“In addition to that, I don’t think it would be reasonable to believe that we could supply more than three without degrading the level of service, the quality of service, for the other teams.

“We have had discussions and frankly, we have [current] contracts in place. We value the relationship with Red Bull. It is a long-standing relationship and we would like to carry this relationship until 2020, but if there is something to be done [elsewhere], why not?

“But right now I understand things are very quiet and they are not necessarily pushing for anything.”

Earlier this week we heard news about Honda making progress after working with consultants Ilmor and they have provided upgrades for the current weekend race. While it is not an indicator of the actual changes, FP1 and FP2 saw McLaren team doing slightly better than the earlier races.

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