Mark Webber believes that he would have made his Formula One debut with Mercedes if the German manufacturer had a say in McLaren's driver line-up at the time.
The Australian raced in sportscars with Mercedes, but he made his Formula One debut in 2002 with the Minardi team, moving to Jaguar Racing the following year.
Since then, Webber raced for Williams and will next year drive for Red Bull Racing, alongside David Coulthard.
But according to Webber, he could have driven for McLaren if Mercedes had a say in the team's driver line-up.
"To race with Mercedes was fantastic, it made me mature from a professional point of view," Webber told Italian magazine Autosprint.
"Why didn't this relationship evolve towards F1? It's simple: because at McLaren, Ron Dennis was the boss.
"Nowadays, Mercedes probably has more power in the management of the F1 programme, but it wasn't this way until a few years ago.
"Mercedes [management] had a lot of respect for my work, they believed in my potential, but at McLaren the drivers never came under their discussion."
Webber raced for Mercedes AMG's sportscar team in 1998 and 1999, taking part in the FIA GT championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, before moving to F3000 in 2000.