McLaren see no reason why they can’t challenge Mercedes for titles with the same engine, but concede it could take a while before they make that step up.
The Woking-based squad were powered by the German manufacturer from 1994 to 2014, winning three Drivers’ titles during that period before they swapped to Honda engines in 2015.
It proved to be an ill-fated move as McLaren struggled, and they then changed to Renault at the start of the 2018 season.
However, they will now return to Merc power in 2021 with the deal confirmed during the Russian Grand Prix race weekend.
When McLaren initially dropped Merc in 2014, it believed that it couldn’t challenge the works team, but McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown is feeling different this time around.
“I’m very confident that Mercedes supplies [every team equally],” he is quoted as saying by Autosport.com.
“You can look at the telemetry, it’s clear that’s what in Mercedes Grand Prix cars is the same in the Williams and Racing Point cars.
“If we do a very good job with our team, execute, our drivers do a good job then I think we can.
“But I think you’re going to have to be on your A game.”
As the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and, although McLaren are on the up after a couple of difficult seasons, team principal Andreas Seidl admits they have their work cut out for them if they are to challenge for top honours.
Asked if they could challenge from 2021, Seidl said: “No, definitely not. We need to be realistic.
“The next target is to make the next step next year, hopefully we can jump in terms of performance or lap time somewhere between where we are now and the top teams.
“From 2021 onwards the new regulations are kicking in but we need to be realistic.
“The three top teams are not just there because of having more money.
“They simply do a better job also and they will keep doing a better job. It’s important to take the next step as a team, to do a better job. And of course it’s important at some point that we all have the same resources.
“It’s important to have the budget cap from 2021 onwards but I think it will take time before this is washing out, and we actually get to the same level playing field at some point.”