Mercedes is surely the team to beat since 2014 so we should not be surprised if every team wishes to be with them rather than against them.
McLaren has a quite different situation, though. The British team, in fact, in the past years was already a client team for the Brackley-based engine company and it had then decided to leave, before coming back in 2021.https://motorlat.com/notas/f1/15012/will-f1-be-towed-away-from-the-hard-shoulder#.XnngDnxmaOo.
The plan at the time was to go back to an old flame, Honda, which did not have a personal team to give its engine to, so McLaren thought it could be their chance to spoil a “first- hand” treatment, without any restrictions.
Such a situation was very well thought but we all know how it ended. After a good motorisation provided by Renault, the Woking-based team rose from its own ashes and concluded the 2019 season as “the best of the rest” team, ending up at the podium’s feet of the Constructors’ Standings.
The 2021 season will watch McLaren racing again with a Mercedes’ engine. But will it be useful to the English team to go back to Mercedes? Let’s analyse this situation together.
Mercedes surely provides the best engines, but at the end of the day it – just like Renault- gives the priority to its own team. This would keep any client under the role of “test-team”: they will give McLaren the engines that need testing and such a choice could be risky. In fact, Renault could not aspire to the first place, so in the end they could take fewer risks than Mercedes.
On the other hand, McLaren needs to continue its improvement if it wants to aim to be the third force on the grid. The real question is if Mercedes could really help them to be what it can turn out to be their “enemy”, even if at the moment this oversight looks very unlikeable.
The best option is always the same: McLaren should build its own engine. We can’t look forward to that moment.