KEY POINTS

  • McLaren has confirmed it is still planning to use Mercedes engines in 2021
  • Formula 1 teams and the FIA have delayed regulation change to 2022
  • Renault will be the only one supplying its teams

McLaren has decided to take on Mercedes power units, though the coronavirus has made it trickier than usual.

During the past week, the FIA and 10 Formula 1 teams made the proposition to delay the introduction of the drastic 2021 technical regulations by a year, considering everything which has happened.

The result is the 2020 chassis is going to be carried over to 2021 to save the expenditures after an economically trying time for everyone.

McLaren, who run power units from Renault, had been planning its 2021 design with the architecture of the Mercedes unit. However, they now have to spend more resources to accommodate it for the current season, whenever it will begin and for next year.

McLaren did issue a statement saying they would be using the Mercedes engine in 2020 as planned, and they are going to accommodate it within the base chassis they have at present.

The switch to Mercedes for McLaren will mean that Renault will only supply its team. The Britons partnered with Renault in 2018 after splitting from Honda due to a three-year spell where there was underperformance.

Even though the initial season with Renault was lackluster, the second year yielded good results and the team was able to secure fourth position in the constructor’s championship.

In any case, the shift to Mercedes in the way that it has will be far from ideal for the British racing team.

Though the mounting position can be adjusted on the chassis with ease, the architecture of every power unit is different. One manufacturer can place the cooling and turbo in different locations compared to the rivals. Some will have the compressors at the front, while others will have it at the back.

The Renault powered teams prefer to mount the cooling components above the engine intake. Mercedes, on the other hand, prefers not to install them above the intake.

 The fact that McLaren will have to incorporate the Mercedes architecture into the current Renault unit will be daunting.

 It would mean reconfiguration to a significant degree of the chassis and, perhaps, the gearbox.

McLaren had done this one before when it made the call to swap from Honda to Renault during the 2018 season. They made it work, but perhaps that was a fluke.

This time, it might be harder to make things fit comfortably and still generate the desired performance from the assembly before the regulations take effect in 2022.

lando-4341625_640 McLaren Formula 1 Photo: Pixabay