McLaren ‘blocking new Red Bull F1 engines’

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis is blocking Honda from providing Red Bull with an engine for the next Forula One season, Bernie Ecclestone has claimed.

Red Bull, who won four consecutive driver and team titles between 2010 and 2013, face an uncertain future in Formula One as they continue to seek an engine supplier beyond this season.

Ferrari have joined Mercedes in refusing to provide power units to Red Bull while question marks also surround Renault, the team’s current engine supplier, and their future in the sport.

As such Red Bull have now turned their attentions to Honda, the only other remaining engine supplier on the grid, in a bid to save their grand prix status.

But the sport’s chief executive Ecclestone, 84, has claimed McLaren, who enjoy an exclusive relationship with Honda, do not wish to supply Red Bull with engines next year.

“The honest answer is at the moment it would appear that Honda are happy to give them an engine and Mr Dennis thinks they should not,” said Ecclestone, who added that Dennis will exercise a veto to prevent the Japanese manufacturer from supplying Red Bull with a power unit.

McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier, asked about a veto on Friday, said: “I think it’s better to not comment any more on this discussion because obviously as we said already there is a lot of discussion behind the scenes.

“McLaren and Honda are official partners and obviously there is a due respect of understanding from each party.”

Ecclestone, speaking from the Austin paddock on Saturday, claimed Honda agreed with the FIA to supply engines to a team other than McLaren after their first year back in the sport.

“In fairness to Ron he probably did not know,” Ecclestone said of Honda’s agreement with the sport’s governing body. “I am not blaming anybody. I said I would tell you the facts. They are the facts.

“Honda have got an agreement with the FIA and myself that we allowed them into F1 supplying engines to one team for the first year, two teams the second, three teams the third.

“And they somehow got involved and made a commitment to Ron that he had a veto and he does not want Red Bull now. I think he believes they may be competitors.

“Ron has said definitely not as far as he is concerned so I don’t know whether his veto will stand up legally. Red Bull could run Honda if Honda agree and they won’t agree obviously. They will have an argument with Ron because Ron could sue them.”

Ecclestone added that British manufacturer Cosworth will be one of two independent engine suppliers to be in Formula One in 2017.

The 84-year-old also said that he did not know whether Renault will be in the sport next term.

The French manufacturer have signed a letter of intent to purchase a controlling stake in Lotus, but when asked if Renault would be in Formula One beyond this season, Ecclestone said: “I don’t know. They have not made a decision. Lotus have got an entry and could be there without (Renault). They have got a deal with Mercedes actually so Lotus can be there no problem.”

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