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McLaren-Honda deal not exclusive

ESPN Staff
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McLaren says Honda can supply other teams when it comes back to the sport © Sutton Images

McLaren says its new engine deal with Honda from 2015 is not exclusive, leaving the door open for other teams to seek a supply deal when the Japanese manufacturer returns to the sport.

McLaren has secured a works deal with Honda, but when asked if it was "exclusive" McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said there was nothing stopping Honda supplying a second team.

"It is better if Honda answers that directly, but all engine suppliers coming in to F1 know they are doing so with the expectation that should they be required, they are prepared to supply more than one team," he was quoted by Autosport. "We have no illusions; and we have a lot of work to be ready for 2015. But should the FIA or Bernie [Ecclestone] request, then Honda is aware of that situation. It is not exclusive in that respect."

The new engine regulations will come into force next year, meaning McLaren will use Mercedes' new V6 turbo engine and energy recovery systems for one season before switching to Honda. However, Neale said McLaren had reassured Mercedes than none of its secrets will find their way into Honda's hands.

"We have discussed that at length with Mercedes and we have made sure that Mercedes has all the comfort it needs," he added. "It is not in Honda's interest either. Honda is very honourable and McLaren will operate in a scrupulous way. That is why our partnerships are long term - and we are not an organisation that runs roughshod over such undertakings."

Neale also said the Honda deal does not extend to McLaren's automotive side, which uses engines built in partnership with Ricardo, or involve Honda buying into the team.

"It is more a conventional works team type arrangement," he said. "We will not go into the commercial agreements, but it does not include equity and we have had no conversation about [McLaren] Automotive.

"This is a racing programme. Honda and McLaren want to build on the relationship we have together, and give Honda the chance to showcase the technology it has with the 1.6-litre powertrain partnership."