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McLaren staying with Mercedes – for now

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh says his team will run under Mercedes power next year but fails to make mention of 2015 and beyond
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that the team will continue to run under Mercedes power for 2014 although he has refused to reveal if that deal will then continue into 2015 and beyond.

McLaren is at the centre of much speculation over its future engine deal amidst reports that it could elect to switch to Honda power when new regulations come into force next year.

The Woking-based team currently has a contract in place with Mercedes that runs through to the end of the 2015 season but could elect to end that deal to reunite with Honda if – as expected – the Japanese manufacturer decides to make a return to the F1 arena for the first time since pulling the plug on its own team.

Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Whitmarsh was quizzed on the situation regarding his team's engines, and while he was happy to confirm that Mercedes will power his cars in 2014, the team principal was somewhat coy about 2015 and beyond.

"I can categorically say we've been with them [Mercedes] for some time, we have a contract, we're talking about that and we've been talking about it for some time," he said. "There's nothing to announce at the moment and I can't elaborate any further than I did [before].

“We have a contract that covers the next three seasons and we will certainly go in to next year with Mercedes-Benz. We will see, we had a long and successful partnership with them and we've heard and read the stories about Porsche, Honda, Hyundai and various stories."

Whitmarsh did however concede that new engine suppliers were important for F1 moving forwards, with only Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault expected to provide engines next year.

"F1 at the moment needs new automotive manufacturers to come into the sport," he said. "If we can help that in any way we will do so, but at the moment we are focused on our partnership with Mercedes-Benz, which has been a good partnership, and we will try to win championships with them in the future."

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