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Team principal behind 17 titles predicts major customer team trend linking Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes Dominance

During his active years, former McLaren boss Ron Dennis won several league titles with McLaren. But the Englishman believed that a customer F1 team could not win championships against factory teams, like Mercedes and Ferrari in the age of the turbo hybrid.

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The English F1 team is one of the most legendary teams, having a lot of history and success in the sport. However, McLaren was never a works team and always relied on other manufacturers for power units. They currently get their engines from Mercedes, the F1 team that dominated the hybrid era.

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Why are factory F1 teams more dominant?

In 2014, Ron Dennis said that customer teams would not be able to compete with factory teams. The former McLaren CEO told Autosport, “My opinion, and it is an opinion shared by many people within our organization, is that you have no chance of winning the world championship if you don’t get the best engines from whoever makes your engines.

It seems the former McLaren CEO was right. In 2021, Mercedes was fighting for the championship, while McLaren could only fight for third place. The factory F1 team has direct access to the engines, giving them an advantage over customer teams.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal – October 25, 2020 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during the Race Pool via REUTERS/Jorge Guerrero

Dennis reported, “Even if you have the same brand of engine, it does not mean that you have the possibility to optimize the engine.

The factory teams also look stronger than the customer teams in the 2022 season. This time around, the Ferrari power units look the strongest, as they are doing quite well in the title fight. Meanwhile, Ferrari’s customer teams are also doing very well, but they cannot compete with the Maranello-based team.

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Moreover, Mercedes is clearly underperforming. It would therefore be difficult to imagine that their client teams surpass them. Even Red Bull looks more dominant this season, using Red Bull Power Train. However, these are only the renowned Honda engines that Red Bull and AlphaTauri use.

What’s next for McLaren as a customer team?

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McLaren F1’s current deal with Mercedes runs until 2024. However, the English F1 team is already on the lookout for a potential replacement from other German manufacturers. There is speculation that the Volkswagen Group will enter the sport in 2026 with its subsidiaries, Audi and Porsche.

There is a lot of talk surrounding a partnership between McLaren and Audi. However, current McLaren boss Zak Brown recently rejected a deal with Audi as the German manufacturers planned to buy the English team.

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According to The Race, Brown doesn’t want to sell his team, but he’s still willing to accept Audi as an engine supplier. Let’s see if McLaren finds a suitable engine supplier.