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Bernie: 'McLaren boss blocking Honda-Red Bull' deal'

2015-10-26 12:05

POINTING FINGERS: Bernie Ecclestone says Ron Dennis is to blame for blocking a Honda-Red Bull deal. Image: AFP

Austin, Texas - Honda is willing to supply Red Bull with engines in 2016 but McLaren boss Ron Dennis is blocking any deal, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Saturday (October 24).

Ecclestone told reporters at the 2015 US Grand Prix: "At the moment it would appear that Honda is happy to give them an engine and Mr Dennis thinks they shouldn't.

Previous agreement

Ecclestone said Honda agreed years ago with the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) and himself that they would be willing to supply two teams in their second year back in Formula 1 and three in the third.

The Japanese manufacturer sold their works team and pulled out at the end of 2008, but returned this year as engine supplier to McLaren.

"They somehow... made a commitment to Ron that he had a veto and he doesn't want Red Bull," said Ecclestone. "Ron (Dennis) has said definitely not, as far as he's concerned. I don't know whether his veto will stand up legally."

There was no immediate response from Honda. McLaren's racing director Eric Boullier would not comment when asked on Friday about the veto.

Desperate times

The fact Red Bull has been talking to Honda hints at how desperate they are to find an engine after falling out with Renault over their lack of performance in the V6 turbo hybrid era.

They have said they could quit if they cannot find a competitive engine but Honda have been even further behind, with McLaren suffering their worst season and plagued by reliability problems.

Renault could also still be an option, despite the bad relations, but the French manufacturer has yet to announce its plans for the future despite talk of them taking over Lotus.

Ecclestone said he did not know whether Renault would continue.

Still deciding?

"You'd have thought they'd have made up their mind before now," he said. "When I spoke to the president (of Renault), he said they would make an announcement in December."

Dominant Mercedes has ruled out supplying Red Bull while Ferrari appear willing only to provide them to the former champions' sister team Toro Rosso.

Ecclestone suggested that Red Bull had ended up in their predicament because they mistakenly thought that they had a deal with Mercedes.

"In defence of Red Bull, and (principal) Christian Horner in particular, the reason they cancelled their agreement with Renault was so they could do the deal which they thought they'd done with Mercedes," he said.

Mercedes bosses have said there was never an agreement because Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz never followed up the initial approach.


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