McLaren rules out own engine amid Honda struggles
McLaren has ruled out any suggestion it could try to build its own engine for Formula 1, amid its troubled start to the third year of its Honda partnership
The British outfit had gone into this year's Formula 1 campaign hopeful of turning around form after two disappointing seasons in 2015 and 2016.
But pre-season testing proved a disaster due to reliability and power issues with Honda's revamped power unit.
And although the Australian Grand Prix was not as bad as had been feared, it is clear that big progress is needed if McLaren is going to hit its performance targets.
McLaren sounded out Mercedes about a potential supply deal if it felt that it could not carry on with Honda, while there have also been suggestion that one option could be for it to run its own power unit in the future.
But Zak Brown, McLaren's executive director, has dismissed any talk that McLaren Automotive could step in to help build an F1 engine.
"McLaren Automotive is a different business unit with some common shareholders who we work very closely with," he said.
"Their engine is a McLaren engine but the F1 team has a different set of economic priorities and ways to go racing so that is not a conversation that we've had.
"What we can do in 10 years, who knows - but that is not a conversation [for now]. We are not an engine builder, we are a racing team and a car constructor."
Despite the Mercedes talks, Brown insisted that McLaren was fully focused on making the Honda partnership come good.
"We are very open with Honda," he said. "We are working with them on what is the best way to be competitive as quickly as possible, and then ultimately to get back to the ultimate goal of winning the world championship together, so there has not been a real strain in the relationship.
"All our conversations with them have been [about] how we get out of this situation that we are in."
Alonso frustration "no surprise"
Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who returned to McLaren in 2015 and has not claimed as much as a podium finish since, has been vocal in venting his frustration with the McLaren-Honda partnership's current lack of competitiveness.
Brown insisted the Spaniard's dissatisfaction was understandable. "I think Fernando wants to be very competitive, and if you look at any world champion driver, they are not satisfied unless they are winning. That is why we have them.
"You would expect him to make comments about competitiveness - so I don't think that is a surprise or unhealthy.
"It is tough on all of because and we get interviewed a lot, every once in a while you let a little emotion get to you and you say something that gets construed in the wrong way, but the relationship is very healthy."
Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble
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