McLaren is considering building their own engine after the new engine regulations come into play in 2021 if the costs come down significantly.
The Woking-based team is in the final stages of agreements to switch from Honda to Renault for the next few years. The team is fully aware the engine supply side might change after 2021 regulations come into effect.
Zak Brown, McLaren’s executive director is certain the engine scene will see a major change once the current formula comes to an end.
“We’re interested to see what the new engine formula is in 2021 – and whether we consider doing our own engine, or whether other people would come in under new rules,” said Brown.
“So right now we’ve got to focus on the next three years and, as soon as we get that figured out, then yeah, of course, we’ve got to look.
“I think the landscape in Formula 1 is going to change in a very positive way from ’21 onwards, with budget caps, revenue redistribution, and new engine rules. So it’s a little hard to take any decisions on ’21 with so many things that will change.”
McLaren will decide on building their own engine only once the new rules come out and they study the details.
“For us to do our own engine, that’s not something we’ve done before – so that would require a good lead time and some good capital expenditure,” he explained.
“We’d consider doing it. We just need to have an understanding of the platform, what are the rules, and what is it going to cost.
“We certainly wouldn’t be in a position to spend the hundreds of millions that it takes now to develop engines, so they’re going to have to change the engine formula for it to be something that economically would be viable for us.”
Brown, like Christian Horner of Red Bull, thinks the best route for F1 would be to attract independent engine makers who can supply a competitive engine at a reasonable cost.
“We’d be very much in favour of there being an independent, competitive engine, not just an engine that makes up the numbers,” he said.
“The manufacturers are great, I fully embrace them. But it would be healthy for the sport, like it’s been in the past, to have an independent engine that teams can use should they choose, and it be a competitive engine. That’s key.
“The last time around Cosworth was in, and at the end, they weren’t competitive. So it doesn’t work to just have an independent engine if it’s not something that you can win races with.”
Horner has been suggesting the next engine should pass three main criteria- Good performance, Good sound and cost less than $10 million. If the new engine regulations bring in new suppliers, the smaller and newer teams may have better options to choose from, at a reasonable cost.