Mercedes silent on McLaren engine rumours

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Mercedes is remaining tight-lipped over reports that McLaren might be about sign an engine deal with them for 2018.

"At the moment I do not want to participate in these rumours and discussions," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Bild newspaper this week.

The relationship between McLaren and current engine partner Honda has become increasingly strained. The team has yet to score any points so far this season. Critical comments from McLaren in Montreal strengthened speculation that it might have reached the end of the road with the Japanese manufacturer.

"It's difficult to find the right words to express our disappointment, our frustration and, yes, our sadness," McLaren racing director Eric Boullier told reporters. "So I'll say only this: it's simply not good enough."

The dissatisfaction with the embarrassing situation was also being felt on the Honda side.

"Obviously they (the board) are not happy right now. But they are committed to the long term project," Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa said.

"We are trying to improve. Maybe there is someone who can do better than me," he added. "For the moment I am doing the best I can."

The Daily Mail newspaper said that McLaren's long-standing shareholder Mansour Ojjeh had in-depth talks with Wolff and Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda in Canada. Ojjeh has been hands-on at McLaren since the ousting of Ron Dennis as chief executive last year.

Boullier reportedly told the newspaper he did not expect any deal to be concluded before the next race in Baku, Azerbaijan in under two weeks' time. It's believed that breaking its contract with Honda will cost McLaren in the order of £78 million.

If the deal goes through, McLaren would join Williams and Force India as customer teams for Mercedes engines. While theoretically McLaren could make the switch over the summer, the team would more likely not change engines until 2018.

"You could install a new power unit in any F1 car in a minimum of three months," the Mail reported an unnamed Formula 1 engine source as saying.
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