McLaren could walk away from Mercedes deal

McLaren have been powered by Mercedes since 2021, following spells with Honda and Renault.

When the engine regulations undergo a major change ahead of the 2026 season, many teams will make changes to their power unit approach, taking advantage of the fact that every team will be back to square one.

Audi will complete their takeover of Sauber to finally enter F1 in 2026, while Red Bull will split from Honda to become powered by Red Bull Ford.

The engine manufacturers that have signed up for the new regulations so far are Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Renault, Audi and Honda, giving teams six options to choose from to provide their power units.

Since splitting from Renault at the end of 2020, McLaren have been powered by Mercedes engines, with their success in this period being limited to a single race win in Monza.

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While the team are happy with their Mercedes partnership, McLaren CEO Zak Brown has admitted that his team are looking into the possibility of partnering with a different team in 2026, should a better opportunity arise.

“We’re very happy with Mercedes, We have some time to decide what we want to do in ’26 and beyond,” he said.

“I think it’s exciting for Formula 1 that you have as many manufacturers coming into the sport. I think that shows the growth and excitement for the sport.

“So it’s something that Andreas [Stella] and I are in the process of slowly reviewing. We’re not in a big rush and we are very happy with Mercedes. So we’ll see how things play out over the next year or so before we need to make a decision.”

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With Honda signed up to the 2026 regulations but without a team to partner with, following their split from Red Bull, it has been rumoured that McLaren could return to working with the Japanese manufuacturer.

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The partnership between to two around a decade ago was unsuccessful, with Fernando Alonso famously calling the Honda engine a GP2 engine.

Since then, Honda have gone on to power Red Bull to championship success over the past two seasons, proving that they have come on leaps and bounds since their initial spell with McLaren.

With the technology slowly becoming available to McLaren set to make them much more competitive in the coming years, now is an exciting time to get on board with the McLaren project.