McLaren and Mercedes: divorce proceedings first!

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'Divorce first and then we'll talk about marriage,' is what Mercedes is telling McLaren, perhaps its future engine customer.

The Woking-based outfit's partnership with Honda has likely reached the point of no return. No return to harmony, and no return to the winners circle.

McLaren boss Zak Brown has publicly vented the team's frustrations over its engine partner, evoking alternative plans currently in the works, one of which could be atie-up with Mercedes

Speaking in Geneva yesterday at the FIA's Sport Conference, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff hinted at a potential deal with McLaren, insisting that the manufacturer has the capacity to supply a fourth team in addition to Force India, Williams and its works effort.

"This is not our priority at the moment," was Wolff's response when asked about supplying McLaren in 2018.

"First we would like to see Honda and McLaren sorting out their relationship. There's quite some momentum in the market at the moment, which we watch from the sidelines. 

"This is a position we have put ourselves in because the most important thing is that Honda performs, stays in the sport and has a good deal with its customer teams or works teams. 

"We wouldn't want to interfere at that stage, that is our priority." 

Wolff offered a not-so-subtle image to describe Mercedes' current stance with regard to McLaren. 

"If you are being considered as the new bride you want the couple to divorce first before you jump into the bed."

But ultimately, the Austrian is hoping that Honda, which will supply Sauber next year, will succeed and become a force to be reckoned with in F1. 

"The main priority is for Honda to stay in the sport and for Honda to have a functioning relationship with its customers," he said.

"That's why at the moment we do not wish to dive into this topic."

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