McLaren swaps Renault for Mercedes power from 2021
McLaren has announced that it will swap power unit supply from Renault to Mercedes from the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Renault and McLaren currently have a contract through to the end of next year, beyond which McLaren will switch to Mercedes power.
“This agreement is an important step in our long-term plan to return to success in Formula 1,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
“Mercedes is the benchmark, both as a team and a power unit, so it is natural we would seek to secure a relationship with the company for the next phase of our journey.
“This announcement reflects the confidence of our shareholders and is an important message to our investors, employees, partners and fans that we are committed to returning McLaren to the front of the field.”
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, added: “We are delighted to welcome McLaren back to the Mercedes-Benz racing family with this new power unit supply agreement.
“Although the two brands share a prestigious history, this new agreement is all about looking to the future and beginning a new era of power unit supply for the years ahead.
“McLaren have been putting in place the building blocks of their revival over recent seasons, including impressive performances this season with Renault power.
“We hope that this new long-term agreement marks another milestone for McLaren as they aim to take the fight to the sport’s top teams, including our Mercedes works team.”
McLaren has previously enjoyed strong success using Mercedes power, winning world championships with Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999) and Lewis Hamilton (2008) in a relationship that lasted from 1995 to 2014.
Three tough seasons with Honda followed before McLaren last year switched to customer Renault engines, sparking an upturn in performance from the squad.
“Since our partnership began, McLaren has gone from ninth to fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship,” said Renault’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul.
“We can therefore consider this a very successful relationship.
“However, while looking beyond the terms of the current contract, which concludes at the end of 2020, it was apparent that Renault and McLaren have different ambitions for the future.
“Each of the different elements of this decision have been carefully evaluated over the past few weeks. 2021 will be a crucial season for all teams and it is important for us to have a precise and clear view of the strengths and ambitions of our competitors going forward.
“This decision is in line with Renault’s vision to become a works’ team, with a goal to return to the front.
“Renault will continue to honour its commitments to McLaren Racing next season, as has always been the case over our long history of engine supply.”
Renault returned to Formula 1 as a factory team in 2016, having been solely an engine supplier since 2010.
Early in the current engine formula the French marque came in for heavy criticism from former partner Red Bull, which eventually switched its power unit supply to Honda for 2019.
It left McLaren as Renault’s sole customer team, a relationship that will now cease at the end of 2020.