Haug downplays talk of Illien departure

Mario Illien, the co-founder of Ilmor Engineering, which makes Mercedes' Formula 1 engines, has been linked to a future with Renault Sport, but the German manufacturer's motorsport boss Norbert Haug has denied any differences of opinion with his current engine partner

Haug downplays talk of Illien departure

Renault will imminently split with veteran engine guru Jean-Jacques His and there are paddock suggestions that Illien has gripes with elements of the recent McLaren-Mercedes restructuring that has seen former BMW man Werner Laurenz given a key role. Following the death of Illien's friend and co-founder Paul Morgan in an aircraft accident, Mercedes has increased its Ilmor shareholding and it is understood that Illien's remaining shares will come under Mercedes control next year.

Commenting on stories of a Renault offer to Illien, Haug said: "The background is that everyone speaks to the other guy and everyone has offers. Maybe all the good people have permanent offers, so maybe Mario has some. I asked Flavio (Briatore) about it and he said no, and I asked Mario about it, and he said no.

"Everything is in order (at McLaren) and we have more to do than concentrating on rumours," Haug went on. "There is no doubt that Mario contributes and there is no doubt that we are looking at doing things better at Mercedes-Ilmor. Mario is concentrated on his job, as are we, and it's just a non-subject.

"As for Werner Laurenz, he started on April 1 and it's now May 17, so he can't be a miracle man. He contributes, he's a team player but it would be incorrect to say that the performance of the engine we have now is due to Werner's efforts. He contributes, like Mario, and there are lots of other guys. It's a team effort and without everyone we would not go forward."

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