McLaren boss blocking Honda deal with Red Bull, says Ecclestone

Sat Oct 24, 2015 4:13pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Honda are willing to supply Red Bull with engines next season but McLaren boss Ron Dennis is blocking any deal, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Saturday.

"At the moment it would appear that Honda are happy to give them an engine and Mr Dennis thinks they shouldn't," the 84-year-old told reporters at the U.S. Grand Prix.

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 One 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 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.

The fact Red Bull have 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.   Continued...

File photo of McLaren's Formula One team chairman Ron Dennis chatting with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone (R) during the new McLaren MP4-23 official presentation of the McLaren Formula One Team 2008 in Stuttgart, January 7, 2008. REUTERS/Miro Kuzmanovic