McLaren has explored the possibility of a reunion with Mercedes in the light of the continuing failure of Honda to provide a fully reliable and competitive power unit.
The BBC has reported that sources confirmed that there had been an approach from McLaren to Mercedes to in effect see if there’s any chance of a supply being available – and while it’s not clear whether the discussion focused in 2018 or a dramatic switch of supplier during the course of this season, talks did not progress very far.
Toto Wolff is not thought to be too keen on the idea of helping McLaren, having turned convinced his bosses to turn down Red Bull in 2015.
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Mercedes has lost a customer this season due to the demise of Manor, and thus does potentially have extra capacity, although Sauber has been linked with a 2018 supply. Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein is driving for the Swiss team this team, renewing the links between the two parties, Sauber having previously been the works Mercedes sports car team.
The irony in the situation is that at the end of 2008, the then Honda team faced closure after the Japanese manufacturer pulled out of the sport. Ross Brawn urgently had to find an engine supplier and was able to get Mercedes when McLaren gave permission. And the team’s success in 2009 promoted Mercedes to buy the team and ultimately leave McLaren.