JUNE 28, 2003
A McLaren Junior Team in the wings...
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief Norbert Haug said at the European Grand Prix that the Stuttgart car company will be willing to supply a second team with engines next year. Haug however made the point that the engines will not carry any Mercedes-Benz branding nor the logos of any Mercedes-Benz brand.
"It will not be a Mercedes-Benz engine," Haug said. "It will have a different name. This is certain. We are only going to have one team called West McLaren Mercedes in Formula 1. The engine would be a sponsors's name or an artificial name."
Haug's comments coincided with speculation in the paddock that the Mercedes-Benz customer could become in effect a McLaren junior team with Mercedes demanding more than just money in exchange for an engine deal. It is believed that Sauber's deal with Ferrari includes clauses which mean that Ferrari has Sauber's vote in technical matters. It is logical that Mercedes-Benz would want a similar arrangement with its customer.
There has also been speculation that the best thing for McLaren-Mercedes would be for the team to supply a customer with not just the engine but also the MP4-17D chassis. This would make the team as competitive as Sauber has been in recent years and perhaps even more competitive.
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