McLaren believes switch to Honda engines will not compromise 2014
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, May 16th 2013, 10:55 GMT|
McLaren believes its world championship challenge with Mercedes next year will not be compromised by its planned switch to Honda engines for 2015.
The Woking-based outfit will have its final year as Mercedes customers with the new 1.6-litre turbo V6s in 2014, prior to embarking on its new Honda relationship for the following campaign.
The challenges of adapting to the new regulations, and then changing power-units for 2015, will be great - but McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale is confident it has the strength in depth to avoid its on-track challenge being compromised.
Neale also has no doubts that Mercedes will continue to give it the engines and support that is necessary for it to challenge for the world title.
"They will give us the information we need - and our engineers are working very closely together with them," said Neale, during a phone-in with the media on Thursday.
"We need each other to be successful. We have a confidence in our partnership – we have been great partners and have been at many races together.
"We recognise that there is a mutual dependency. And although we are competitive on circuit, behind the scenes there is the highest of regard between the two organisations."
The change of engine partner for 2015 has prompted fears that Honda could get hold of knowledge of the Mercedes engine – which could prove useful for its own power-unit.
Neale clarified that McLaren has spoken to Mercedes to make it clear that there would be no risk of its technical secrets being revealed to Honda.
"We have discussed that at length with Mercedes and we have made sure that Mercedes has all the comfort it needs," he said. "It [finding out secrets] is not in Honda's interest either.
"Honda is very honourable and McLaren will operate in a scrupulous way. That is why our partnerships are long term – and we are not an organisation that runs roughshod over such undertakings."
Neale also added that there were no plans at the moment for Honda to be any more than a works engine partner.
"It is more a conventional works team type arrangement," said Neale. "We will not go into the commercial agreements, but it does not include equity and we have had no conversation about [McLaren] Automotive.
"This is a racing programme. Honda and McLaren want to build on the relationship we have together, and give Honda the chance to showcase the technology it has with the 1.6-litre power train partnership."