McLaren claim Mercedes and Ferrari don't want to help with 2018 engine
Mercedes and Ferrari "like us where we are", Brown tells Sky Sports; McLaren director believes struggling Honda "can get the job done" in 2018; Alonso wants engine decision sooner rather than later
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 01/08/17 9:33pm
Zak Brown has suggested Mercedes and Ferrari are unwilling to provide McLaren with a 2018 engine because they "like us where we are".
And, in the clearest indication yet that McLaren are leaning towards sticking with their current engine partners next year, the team's executive director has also told Sky Sports "we ultimately think that Honda can get the job done".
McLaren remain bottom of the constructors' standings at the halfway point of a hapless campaign and, though a split with Honda has never been confirmed, they had been in discussions with their competitors about a 2018 power supply.
But Brown says rivals, particularly leading teams and engine manufacturers Mercedes and Ferrari, are enjoying seeing Formula 1's eight-time champions towards the back of the grid.
"We're a big team that knows how to win races and championships so I think most of the teams, while it's a shame to see where we are, they like us where we are," Brown told Sky Sports News' Craig Slater. "They don't want to get us too close to them which is understandable."
It has been suggested that McLaren are encountering a similar situation as Red Bull did back in 2015 when they were looking to move on from Renault for Mercedes power.
Indeed, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner claimed Brown had told him that "he thought he was watching the same movie that we lived through" with Mercedes so far seemingly not keen to budge.
And despite the failures of their three-year partnership, Brown has now spoken of his optimism for the future with Honda and has outlined when a decision has to be made.
"We've spoken with Honda about a variety of different scenarios," Brown explained. "We ultimately think that Honda can get the job done, they have in the past. We need to make sure the development comes at a faster pace.
"We're starting to work on our 2018 car now and you can only go so far before you need to know the architecture of what you're doing so I think around the summer time, which obviously isn't far away, we need to finalise what we're doing with Honda moving forward.
"We can't continue to be uncompetitive - that's not what McLaren race for. It's been three years, so we need to see some drastic power adjustments or some different ways to get there.
"We, like Fernando [Alonso], want to be winning races and being on the podium and in the current state we can't do that - so some things need to change."
As for Alonso, whose DNF at the British GP was the sixth time he hasn't finished a race this season, the Spaniard claimed McLaren should make up their minds on Honda as soon as possible.
"It's up to the team and I would support any decision they make," Alonso, out of contract at the end of the season, said. "Definitely, the sooner you make a decision, the better preparation you have for the following year."
Don't miss the F1 Report on Wednesday at 8.30pm on Sky F1's new home, channel 406, as former F1 driver Max Chilton and Sky F1's Marc Priestley join Rachel Brookes to review the British GP.
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.