McLaren Formula One has extended its power unit partnership with Mercedes until at least 2030, covering the upcoming engine era that commences in 2026. With this commitment, McLaren will be the first customer team to use Mercedes' new power unit for the 2026 regulations, bringing them into close alignment with the dominant eight-time world champion works team. In order to maintain its position as the top supplier of Formula 1 power units, Mercedes is deliberately building strong relationships with its customer teams.
The renewed partnership between McLaren and Mercedes-AMG in 2021 has been extremely fruitful, as demonstrated by their victorious performance in the Italian Grand Prix—making McLaren the most recent customer team to win a Formula 1 race. Over the past three years, McLaren has achieved a remarkable fifteen podium finishes across Grand Prix events, including a notable pole position at the F1 Sprint in Brazil. In addition, they demonstrated their progress by winning the F1 Sprint competition held in Qatar at the beginning of the current season.
F1: The 2026 Regulation Changes
Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, UK, has been working on the new power unit for 2026 since the middle of 2022. These cutting-edge power units are designed to operate exclusively on 100% sustainable fuel, adhering to stringent sustainability criteria in both production and formulation. Notably, the overall amount of fuel consumed will be significantly reduced as a result of this transition.
The power unit's integrated electrical systems have been upgraded to a higher performance level. One particularly notable improvement is the use of a single 350 kW electric motor, which is nearly three times as powerful as the current MGU-K. As a result of this, Formula 1 power unit manufacturers must now create a sophisticated, high-performance battery system to go along with the improved electric motor.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said: “Mercedes-Benz has been a brilliant and reliable partner of the McLaren Formula 1 Team. The extension signifies the confidence that our shareholders and the wider team have in their powertrains and the direction we’re taking with them into the new era of regulations ahead. We have been successful together, both in the last three seasons and when they previously powered the team, so we look forward to the success to come as we continue our journey to fight consistently at the front of the grid.”
McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella said: “We are pleased to confirm a long-term renewal of our power unit deal with Mercedes-Benz into the new era of regulations. We have great confidence in Mercedes and our relationship with them. They've supported our journey back to the front of the grid so far, and the security and stability this partnership brings is vital in ensuring we remain on this upward trajectory. I would like to thank them for their collaboration so far and we look forward to the years to come.”
While McLaren is making strides towards regaining its former prominence in Formula 1, it may be some time before the team is once again among the sport's most formidable title contenders. McLaren has made a smart move by deciding to team up with Mercedes at this time. They have a strong relationship and extensive knowledge base with their 2026 chassis engine provider, allowing for seamless integration over the next two seasons. McLaren hopes that by working together, they can build a solid foundation that will allow them to make another giant leap forward in their pursuit of competitive supremacy.