F1 : McLaren To Change Name and More?
This is a story we can all relate to. It is one of farewells and new beginnings. Most of us have been in relationships that have evolved to the point of saying good-bye. Sometimes unexpected, sometimes not. The truth is, change is not always negative, it can be a good thing. McLaren and Hamilton are both moving on. In the case of Hamilton, it is Mercedes AMG playing the role of “the other woman”. McLaren may part ways with the Mercedes and hook up with an old friend…
Lewis Hamilton recently visited McLaren’s Technology Center which is without doubt one of the most impressive places for any petrol-head. It’s clinical feel evokes emotions of seriousness and secrecy. One almost feels compelled to take their shoes off before entering. It resembles a blank canvas for the industry’s top engineers and has been Hamilton’s home away from home. Alas, the young Brit’s visit was an emotional one as he bid the Woking team at MTC a final good-bye.
As you all know, Hamilton has signed with McLaren engine partner Mercedes AMG for 2013 and beyond. A risky move by some accounts but an interesting challenge that will help define Lewis as an F1 driver.
This farewell is not the only one involving Mercedes. It is understood that the long running and successful relationship between Mercedes and McLaren is due to expire by the end of 2014 (if not sooner). As such, McLaren will need to source out another customer engine (if it does not renegotiate a new accord with Mercedes).
Originally, there was talk about McLaren producing their own engine and following the path of Mercedes and Ferrari as a full works team. Recently however, Honda has shown some interest in returning to Formula One racing. While there may or may not be a team spot available by 2014, the option to return as an engine supplier is very real.
Let us not forget what Honda and McLaren have done in the past when they joined forces. In case you need a history lesson, together the pair amassed many victories and titles when paired with Prost and Senna. In fact, in 1988, the MP4/4 McLaren Honda, designed by Gordon Murray and Steve Nichols won an unprecedented 15 our of 16 races, snagged 15 pole position and bagged 10 fastest laps. In case you’re wondering, this is back when the formula was a 1.5L V6 Turbo engine, which sounds very familiar to what F1 will be running (presumably) from 2014 onwards. This certainly seems like more than just an automotive booty call. It could flourish into a long-term engine deal with a happy ending for both as Vodafone McLaren Honda
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Author: Ernie Black