McLaren decision to stay with Mercedes ‘straightforward’ – Stella

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McLaren F1 boss Andrea Stella says the team’s decision to extend its partnership with Mercedes was “straightforward” given the crucial role played by the engine manufacturer in team papaya’s progress.

McLaren announced on Friday that it would extend its current deal with Mercedes for five more seasons, from 2026 until 2030.

The announcement comes as Formula 1 prepares for a major rule change in 2026, with new engine regulations that are designed to be more sustainable and more powerful.

Stella explained that McLaren’s decision was all the more easy because of the continuity it provides and the reassurances it received from Mercedes High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth about how well its 2026 power unit is progressing.

"It was quite straightforward because we are very happy with the ongoing collaboration," Stella said, speaking in Abu Dhabi.

"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, made this decision quite simple for us.

"So, we are just delighted that we have this level of continuity and stability as we look forward.”

Confirmation of McLaren’s future engine supply comes on the heels of a comprehensive restructuring led by Stella of the team’s technical and engineering departments, with several notable hires set to join the Woking-based squad at the turn of the year.

Additionally, the team will approach 2024 with renewed infrastructure, including its new wind tunnel that came online last summer.

Asked if having clarity over its future engine supply represented “the final piece of the jigsaw” for its championship ambitions, Stella said: "I wouldn't say that it's so easy. It's one of the elements you have to have. It's a necessary condition, not sufficient at all.

"In order to contend for championships, there's quite a lot of work to do that needs to be done on the chassis side.

"I think we will be competitive for the years to come from the power unit side, that's why we have made this decision, but there's so much work to do on the chassis,” the Italian added.

"Even this year, what we have achieved, yes it's important but already, we haven't developed the car for a few races.

"And we can see that some of the cars are brought some upgrades and immediately our competitiveness is not as good as it was a few races ago. It's an incredibly competitive business."

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