McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier has said that ideally the team will know by September which engine they will be using in the 2018 season.
At present the plans beyond the end of this year are uncertain. A few weeks ago it seemed that a split from Honda was inevitable but it seems that McLaren’s chances of sourcing an engine from one of F1’s other three suppliers are shrinking.
Most teams are already at an advanced stage in designing next season’s cars and Boullier has said that it has reached the point that McLaren needs to know what is going on.
Speaking at the Hungarian GP he said, “Technically you could change an engine in 12 weeks. If you want to do the very best job then the latest is September, if you want to do the best design.”
At one point it seemed that the team was most likely to return to Mercedes engines. However, in a recent interview McLaren boss Zak Brown suggested that neither the world champions nor Ferrari are willing to supply McLaren, one of the sport’s most historically successful teams.
At the British GP Brown said, “We’re a big team that knows how to win races and championships so I think most of the teams, while it’s a shame to see where we are, they like us where we are. They don’t want to get us too close to them which is understandable.”
If this proves to be true then Renault’s engine is the only alternative available to McLaren. However, their engines are widely considered to be third-best in F1.
However, there has been some good news for McLaren. They recorded their first double points finish of the season at the Hungarian GP to move off the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship.