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Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff says he wanted to supply McLaren with engines for the 2018 season, but indecisiveness meant the team lost out to Renault.
Yes, Mercedes was too slow — a phrase that hasn’t been said often since 2014.
That is the view of Wolff, anyway. It has emerged he wanted the manufacturer to rekindle its relationship with McLaren by once again supplying power units to the British-based team.
“We wanted to give McLaren an engine,” said Wolff, speaking with ESPN. “The problem is that it dragged on for a long time and we just didn’t have the structure in place and the capacity to supply them an engine for 2018. It was simply too late.”
For 20 years, between 1995 and 2014, Mercedes supplied power to McLaren. While the period is thought of as one of McLaren’s most successful, it yielded only the 1998 constructors’ crown.
The successful nature of the partnership does however come clear when looking more closely at the stats — 76 Grand Prix victories to go with drivers’ crowns for Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999) and Lewis Hamilton (2008).
When asked whether Mercedes would consider supplying power units to McLaren in the future, Wolff didn’t say no.
“You must never rule out supplying anybody in the future, and this is why McLaren or anyone else in the future could be a partner,” he said.