McLaren boss Zak Brown has insisted the team “were always going to continue with Mercedes” engines despite being linked with a Toyota deal in recent months.
McLaren announced on Friday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that they will compete with Mercedes power until the end of the 2030 season after agreeing a long-term extension.
The team achieved huge success with Mercedes engines at the turn of the century, winning World Championships with Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton, before reuniting with the German manufacturer in 2021 after stints with Honda and Renault.
McLaren commit to Mercedes until 2030 despite Toyota links
With former McLaren chairman Ron Dennis famously remarking that teams cannot challenge for the title without a works engine deal in modern F1, the team had been rumoured to be keen on tempting a new manufacturer into F1.
The signing of Toyota Le Mans winner Ryo Hirakawa ahead of September’s Japanese GP as the team’s reserve driver for 2024 was interpreted as a move designed to pique Toyota’s interest, having withdrawn from F1 at the end of the 2009 season.
Asked about the links to Toyota in Abu Dhabi, however, Brown has insisted Mercedes were always McLaren’s number-one option.
He told Sky F1: “We were always going to continue with Mercedes. Of course, you do your due diligence and see what everyone else is up to before you make a final decision.
“But we’ve got a long history with Mercedes. We got back to our winning ways with Mercedes, they’ve done an outstanding job. We’ve got a really close collaboration that I think will be even closer now.
“So it was pretty much a no-brainer, they just had to work through the details, but I’m really happy to announce it and just have a real focus with the team that we know what we’re doing moving forward.”
Addressing media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher in Abu Dhabi, team principal Andrea Stella claimed the decision to remain with Mercedes power was a simple one with the engines playing a key role in McLaren’s recovery from a slow start to 2023.
He said: “The reasoning of the decision for us it was quite straightforward, because we are very happy with the ongoing collaboration.
“They were absolutely instrumental, even in the progress of the team this year I have to say, but above all the kind of reassurance we got from a technical point of view, the operational standards, just how solid is what we saw when we checked what was at stake for 2026, it made this decision quite simple for us.
“So we’re just delighted that we have this level of continuity and stability as we look forward.”