McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl decided to delve into the process of the engine deal with Mercedes from 2021 coming together. The German began working with the team in full charge earlier this year in May, and one of the effects of his vision is already tangible, as it emerged that the decision to revert back to Mercedes engines was prompted by himself and backed by McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
“My task is clearly being in charge of the F1 team and put together as quick as possible all the key elements, in order to be successful again in the future, also things like driver line-up and selecting the power unit suppliers.
“To me Mercedes being clearly the benchmark in this hybrid area was the main reason why we wanted to make this decision. The best thing is to have the same power unit from the best team in the paddock, because there is no way to hide for us it’s shown how Mercedes is working with its customers, and I have no worries that we will get the same treatment from Mercedes as their works team.”
Seidl explained that negotiations with Mercedes started ‘just before summer’, and as it shines through his declarations McLaren was the one that called first. “We need to be successful in the future -he said- it was our task to look for possible options so that is why we decided to approach Mercedes and Toto to see if there was the possibility to work together again, and we took it from there.”
The German also stressed that McLaren’s aim is to remain an independent team, and the options of putting up their own PU or partnering with a new manufacturer were simply not realistic enough to take place on the short term, especially for budget-related reasons.
“We want to stay as an independent team, we want to be a major player in the sport and not just because of our history but also hopefully because of the success that we will have again in the future.”
“It was never a topic to put up our own F1 power unit, we have to invest a lot of money, we’d need a lot of running budget and you would need a long time to catch up. We are really happy with the agreement we’ve reached with Mercedes”.
“There were no other options around or any newcomers on the horizon, as I said before it is not realistic that anyone new will come into the sport at the moment, because there is simply too much money you would have to invest” he added.
Although the decision was taken ahead of time (almost one year and a half before), Seidl believes it was the right one, since the 2021 regulations will not alter the current situation concerning power units. Therefore, manufacturers are likely to catch up on one another even more than we are witnessing at the moment.
“I think as Toto said today it was clear that with the regulations staying as they are on the power unit side there is convergence between all the different power units that are around. We can see that right now they are all quite close, which is good for us as an independent team not having our own engine.”