McLaren principal Andreas Seidl led the switch to Mercedes power from 2021 to leave them with “nowhere to hide” as they push to be a leading team again.
It was announced over the Russian GP weekend that McLaren would return to Mercedes power from 2021, meaning their time without this partnership will end at six years.
While McLaren have slipped down the pecking order during stints with Honda and Renault, Mercedes have won every Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship on offer in the turbo-hybrid era, and look almost certain to make it a record six in a row.
Seidl is certain that Mercedes were and still are the “benchmark” in Formula 1, and so by re-signing with them, McLaren have “nowhere to hide” in their quest to join them back at the top of grid.
“My task is to be in charge of the F1 team and to put together, as quickly as possible, all the elements I think are required to be successful in the future,” he told Motorsport.com.
“This includes organisational things, infrastructure like [the new] wind tunnel, and selecting the power unit supplier is an important milestone as well.
“Mercedes being clearly the benchmark in this hybrid era, in terms of powertrain, was one of the main reasons we wanted to make this decision.
“Mercedes as a team, with this power unit, is clearly the benchmark in F1 nowadays.
“The best thing is to have the same powertrain as the best team in the paddock at the moment. Then there’s nowhere to hide for us.”
When McLaren confirmed that they would end their Mercedes partnership after the 2014 season, Ron Dennis, their boss at the time, was adamant that the V6 turbo-hybrid engines were so complicated that a customer team couldn’t beat a manufacturer.
But, Seidl expects McLaren to be given all the power that Mercedes have, and with the engine regulations staying the same in 2021, he thinks it made sense to tie up the deal well in advance.
“With the regulations staying the same on the power unit side there is convergence between the manufacturers,” Seidl explained.
“We see already they are all quite close together, which is good for us as an independent team, not having our own engine.
“But I think with everything Mercedes has shown in the last five or six years, in terms of commitment, in terms of quality, reliability, we are convinced it’s definitely the right way to go for us from 2021 onwards.”
Seidl is pleased that McLaren CEO Zak Brown and the shareholders supported him in pursuit of this deal and putting his vision in place.
“A decision like that is something where you have a lot of discussions and communication with all the parties involved,” said Seidl.
“I have a lot of discussions day by day with Zak about how we want to approach the future, but in the end it was quite a straightforward decision.
“I’m happy I have this support from Zak, from the shareholders, in terms of putting my vision in place.”