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'McLaren-Honda deal is not exclusive'

Friday 17-May-2013 06:28

Honda could supply a second or even a third team when they return to Formula One in 2015 as their deal with McLaren is "not exclusive".

On Thursday, it was confirmed that Honda, who withdrew from the sport at the end of a dismal 2008 Championship, would be making a comeback as an engine supplier to McLaren.

The team parties previously teamed up in the late 1980s, securing four Drivers' titles and four Constructors' crowns during their five-year relationship.

Honda, though, may not be chasing success with only McLaren this time around.

Asked by Autosport whether Honda would supply more teams in 2015 or 2016, McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said: "It is better if Honda answers that directly, but all engine suppliers coming in to F1 know they are doing so with the expectation that should they be required, they are prepared to supply more than one team.

"We have no illusions; and we have a lot of work to be ready for 2015. But should the FIA or Bernie [Ecclestone] request, then Honda is aware of that situation.

"It is not exclusive in that respect."

Neale denied concerns that the switch from Mercedes to Honda at the end of 2014 could hurt McLaren's chances next season as the Woking team's current supplier attempts to hold onto trade secrets with their new 1.6-litre turbo V6 engine.

"They will give us the information we need - and our engineers are working very closely together with them," he added.

"We need each other to be successful. We have a confidence in our partnership - we have been great partners and have been at many races together.

"We recognise that there is a mutual dependency. And although we are competitive on circuit, behind the scenes there is the highest of regard between the two organisations."

As for the Mercedes' fear that technical secrets could be handed over to Honda, Neale said: "We have discussed that at length with Mercedes and we have made sure that Mercedes has all the comfort it needs. It [finding out secrets] is not in Honda's interest either.

"Honda is very honourable and McLaren will operate in a scrupulous way. That is why our partnerships are long term - and we are not an organisation that runs roughshod over such undertakings.

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