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McLaren could build its own engine - Brown

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McLaren boss Zak Brown isn't out ruling the possibility that the Woking-based outfit could build its own engine once F1 ushers in its new rules in 2021.

The engine has been the weakest link in McLaren's package ever since it partnered with Honda in 2015 and has led to a three-year period of spectacular and painful under-performance.

As it attempts to extricate itself from its enduring slump by ditching Honda and striking a deal with Renault for the next few seasons, McLaren is also considering its options for the longer term, including building its own power unit.

"I think the landscape in Formula 1 is going to change in a very positive way from '21 onwards, with budget caps, revenue redistribution, and new engine rules," said Zak Brown in Monza last weekend.

"So it's a little hard to take any decisions on '21 with so many things that will change.

"For us to do our own engine, that's not something we've done before - so that would require a good lead time and some good capital expenditure," he added.

"We'd consider doing it. We just need to have an understanding of the platform, what are the rules, and what is it going to cost.

"We certainly wouldn't be in a position to spend the hundreds of millions that it takes now to develop engines, so they're going to have to change the engine formula for it to be something that economically would be viable for us."

F1 sporting manager Ross Brawn is tasked with defining the sport's engine platform beyond 2020.

While its blue-print will take into account manufacturers' requirements, less sophisticated technology and lower costs will hopefully encourage the involvement of an independent manufacturer, a prospect  which Brown highly favours.

"We'd be very much in favour of there being an independent, competitive engine, not just an engine that makes up the numbers," he said.

"The manufacturers are great, I fully embrace them. But it would be healthy for the sport, like it's been in the past, to have an independent engine that teams can use should they choose, and it be a competitive engine. That's key.

"The last time around Cosworth was in, and at the end they weren't competitive. So it doesn't work to just have an independent engine if it's not something that you can win races with."

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