McLaren have contacted Mercedes about 2017 engine switch
McLaren has reportedly contacted former engine supplier Mercedes about a potential switch to its power unit for the 2017 season, following further reliability troubles for current partner Honda, according to a report by the BBC.
McLaren endured a torrid eight days of pre-season testing in late-February and early-March as its power unit, supplied exclusively by Japanese manufacturer Honda, failed to complete any meaningful running – their longest continuous stint lasting just 11 laps – and required eight changes over the two weeks.
With a frustrated Fernando Alonso blasting the power unit for having "no power, no reliability" and team boss Eric Boullier insisting the team would win with a Mercedes engine this season, McLaren has been on contact with Mercedes in what was described as an "informal and brief" chat.
It's believed McLaren are eyeing the supply deal abandoned by the Manor outfit which failed to make the grid this season after it entered into administration following financial troubles.
Any split would however need McLaren to find a way out if its current deal with Honda, which not only supplies engines free of charge, but also provides some $100 million in funding for the team as well as additional sponsorship revenue.
Whilst performance clauses may exist allowing for a split to happen, there isn't enough time for McLaren to make the required modifications for a Mercedes power unit before the start of the season, therefore if a switch were to take place, it's unlikely it would happen until several races into the year.