McLaren’s Ron Dennis has stated that despite the concern over recent measures to reduce costs and their impact on the rules and regulations that govern Formula One, a collaboration between themselves, Mercedes-Benz and Force India may still go ahead. It was revealed at the Japanese Grand Prix that negotiations between the organisations were at an advanced stage, which could result in Force India receiving a customer car and technical support from McLaren.
McLaren were discussing a similar deal with the now-defunct Prodrive entry a couple of years ago, company owner and former Benetton and BAR team manager Dave Richards hoping to get his own team into the sport. However, complications with the rules meant the deal fell through at a late stage and the project failed, ending hopes of a twelfth team joining the grid.
Since then, the Formula One Paddock has lost another squad due to cut-backs in support from a parent team, Aguri Suzuki’s Super Aguri team going into administration over the Turkish Grand Prix weekend earlier this year. And with the cost of running a Formula One team still being very high, Force India were hoping to save a few coins by entering a partnership with a more wealthy squad.
We are very open to trying to achieve our goal, which is not to make money or lose money, but to be an absolute supporter of one of the independent teams – who are not the lifeblood of F1 but an essential ingredient of F1. That is why we are doing it. We are doing it to assist an independent team. I think it will happen still, but it hasn’t happened yet. Ron Dennis.
A meeting between FOTA and the FIA is due to happen on Tuesday, the key discussion points being cost-cutting measures initially put forward by the FIA. Although it is unlikely that any firm outcome will result from the discussions, it may provide McLaren and Mercedes-Benz a better understanding of where the sport is heading in the near future and what they can and cannot do with regards to supplying support and equipment to another team.