McLaren on track for Mercedes power unit change

McLaren on track for Mercedes power unit change

McLaren are well underway into incorporating their new Mercedes power unit into the MCL35M says Team Principal Andreas Seidl.

After several years apart, McLaren is in the process of reuniting with former longtime engine supplier, Mercedes.

The team announced in 2019 they would be returning to Mercedes power after stints with both Honda and Renault. And while the partnership with Honda would end in failure, the collaboration with Renault would see McLaren with three podium finishes.

But nevertheless, a switch to Mercedes was seen as a considerable upgrade in both power and also reliability.

The planned change over to Mercedes power was due to coincide with the new regulations, originally scheduled to take place in 2021. However, while the introduction of the updated regulations will now come into effect in 2022 due to Covid-19, the engine change will go ahead as planned.

Speaking with, Andreas Seidl detailed the progress McLaren are making, working in conjunction with Mercedes.

“It’s obviously a big task switching to the Mercedes power unit for next year,” said Seidl. “But I have to say I’m very happy with the progress we’re seeing there. I would say the car build is going along very well. The relationship, together with the guys from Brixworth, from Mercedes, has started also on a very good basis. There’s a very good dialogue and technical exchange, so I’m very happy with that.”

McLaren have had to utilise a large number of their development tokens due to the new power unit configuration being significantly different to that of the previous Renault engine. Development tokens were brought into play to in effect, limit the amount of progress and changes a team can make to their car.

With the knowledge that they would be forced to use these tokens for what the team is hoping will be an upgrade to their on-track power, McLaren were forced to bring in certain upgrades during the 2020 season that ordinarily may have been held off. While also making adjustments to their aero package during the offseason ahead of the 2022 regulation changes.

“[The power unit switch] is obviously happening in parallel with aero development we have to do next year with the changes we have to do, especially to the rear of the car, to help Pirelli,” said Seidl.

“I would say we’re on target, no red lights there at the moment but thanks to a lot of power unit changes also recently at McLaren, we have quite some experience also within the team to do that. How good we manage to do that, we will only see next year once we go testing.”


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