It is suspected McLaren will switch oil and fuel supplier for the first time in over two decades which could provide Honda a closer working relationship with its potential new partner Castrol.
Red Bull is set to secure a new deal with Exxon/Mobil as its new oil and fuel partner from 2017 in its split from Total which will see the oil company end its 21-year relationship with McLaren in which it secured four F1 world titles.
McLaren is rumoured to be acting quickly with a linkup with BP-owned Castrol for next season which may work to the advantage of its engine supplier Honda who already has strong connections to the British oil company.
Honda currently works with Castrol in MotoGP, with Cal Crutchlow's privateer LCR Honda team, as well as its factory efforts in World Superbikes and the World Touring Car Championship.
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With oil partners working closely and directly impacting engine performance, it is believed Honda will support the switch – something which McLaren racing director Eric Boullier would allow despite not specifically referencing a mooted McLaren-Castrol tie-up which he refused to comment on in Mexico
“If you had to change technical partner like this which is very important I guess there would be enough time to allow a new partner to develop and start with the same base as you left,” Boullier said.
“Of course the fuel and lubricants are one of the most important elements for the power unit,” Honda boss Yuseke Hasegawa added.
Castrol has previously worked with McLaren in F1 between 1979-1980 and its last involvement in the sport ended in 2006 after a nine-year partnership with Williams. Castrol has also partnered Team Lotus, Brabham, Jaguar and Walter Wolf Racing in F1.
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