Recently, the paddock buzzed with speculation about a potential Toyota return to Formula 1, partnering with McLaren. This rumor gained traction with the signing of Japanese Toyota sports car driver Ryo Hirakawa as a development driver for the Zak Brown-led McLaren team, especially since Toyota racing officials flanked him during the announcement.
Hirakawa, present in Abu Dhabi, shared his ambitions with as-web.jp, stating, “I want to see how far I can go in Formula 1.” However, despite these developments, the notion of a Toyota-McLaren partnership has been clarified as wide of the mark.
In a decisive move, McLaren announced its continued partnership with Mercedes, extending their customer engine supply deal until 2030. Andrea Stella, McLaren’s team boss, elaborated on this decision: “The kind of reassurance we get from a technical point of view, the operational standards, when we checked what was at stake for 2026, it made this decision quite simple for us.”
This announcement comes at a pivotal time, as another Mercedes customer team, Aston Martin, shifts to Honda power for 2026. Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, team boss and co-owner, reflected positively on this continued association with McLaren. “Working with strong customer teams has always been an important part of our motorsport strategy,” Wolff stated. He highlighted the benefits of such partnerships, noting, “It gives us a clear competitive benchmark, accelerates our technical learning process and strengthens the entire F1 business case for Mercedes-Benz.”