McLaren has confirmed it will still be switching to Mercedes engines for next season despite Formula One’s decision to delay the 2021 rule changes.
Given the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, F1 decided to delay the introduction of its new rules package for another year. The revamp was set to implement a radical redesign of F1 cars which the championship hopes are able to deliver closer racing and more overtaking.
The decision also included a freeze on any development of teams’ 2020 chassis for next season, prompting speculation McLaren might have to delay its planned switch from Renault to Mercedes. The team has confirmed it will be allowed to make the necessary changes to fit a new engine in the car for 2021.
« From the outset, we have been a leading supporter of the new sporting and technical regulations for 2021, » team boss Andreas Seidl said. « They present the opportunity to deliver an exciting new era for Formula One.
« Nevertheless, there is no escaping the severity of the pressures faced by the sport right now. In the same way that decision to introduce the new regulations was aimed at improving the long-term health of Formula 1, the decision to postpone them has been made in the same vein.
« We support the postponement and have played an active part in the conversation around doing so. We recognise that it is crucial to protect the financial health of all the teams while ensuring a level playing field when we do go racing.
« Furthermore, this decision does not impact our change to Mercedes power units in 2021, and we will be allowed to make the necessary changes to our car to accommodate this. »
McLaren has a great history with Mercedes and has not won a race or championship since that partnership ended. Between 1995 and 2014, McLaren won the constructors’ championship once (1999) and the drivers’ championship three times (Mika Hakkinen in 1998 and 1999, Lewis Hamilton in 2008).