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Whitmarsh: McLaren committed to Mercedes
6 March 2013
Martin Whitmarsh has moved to downplay reports that McLaren is seeking to switch to Honda engines for the 2015 F1 season.
A report by the BBC
suggested that the Woking-based team was seeking to reunite with Honda after F1's new engine regulations come into force in a move that would see the return of a partnership that clinched four straight titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
While Honda's has been rumoured to be looking at a return to F1 as an engine supplier for some time, Whitmarsh said McLaren remained committed to Mercedes for at least the next three years, with the focus on taking championship honours under the McLaren-Mercedes banner.
"What I can tell you is we have a contract with a long-standing partner, Mercedes-Benz, for 2013, 2014 and 2015," he told Sky Sports F1
. "So we have a contract, they're our partners and we're going to try and win World Championships and races with them."
Admitting that he hoped new engine suppliers would elect to join the grid - with Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault set to be the three suppliers for 2014 amidst reports Cosworth will pull out – Whitmarsh refused to be drawn on McLaren's plans for the longer term, saying it was very much a case of wait and see.
"There's a lot of speculation and I've heard Porsche, Hyundai, Honda, all those sorts of names," he said of those being mentioned as suppliers when the new rules come into force. "I hope for Formula 1 that these manufacturers come back - we need them in the sport. At the moment we've got Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari; we need more engine suppliers.
"We've got a good and long-standing commitment to Mercedes-Benz, that's what we're focused on right now. In the longer term who knows what's going to happen? We're delighted to be partnering Mercedes-Benz. They've done, certainly in the last few years, a fantastic job and we've won a lot of races together and we're going to try and win quite a few more in the next few years."