Another Sign That McLaren Is Going the Manufacturer Route?

Paige Michael-ShetleyCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2009

SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 26:  McLaren Mercedes Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh is seen on the pitwall during qualifying for the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 26, 2009 in Singapore.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The German publication Auto Motor und Sport reported over the weekend in Suzuka that McLaren is looking to purchase BMW's F1 engine division in the wake of the team's departure from the sport.

The report is the latest wrinkle in the developing potentiality of the team's equity partner—Mercedes—reportedly agreeing to take a controlling stake in Brawn GP after their exclusive works partnership contract ends at the conclusion of the 2011 championship. 

As part of the rumored plan, McLaren may agree to terminate the end of their contract with Mercedes two seasons prematurely so that they may commence early with a project to become a completely in-house F1 constructor. The Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, who currently own 30 percent of McLaren, would step up their investment in the team to fund the independent engine project. 

Former Team Principal Ron Dennis is rumored to be spearheading the agenda. He is believed to have ambitious for McLaren to follow in the footsteps of Ferrari and become a competitive road car manufacturer after beginning in motorsports.

This latest story also follows the launch of McLaren Automotive's Latest sports car, the lightweight MP4-12c. Set to compete with the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Lamborghini Gallardo, it is the first in a line of planned new McLaren sports cars, and it is powered by an in-house McLaren 3.8L V8 engine. 

McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh gave a coy response when questioned about he matter, saying "We have no plans to buy BMW's engines." Of course, the report suggests they'd be buying the division and using it to build engines under a McLaren plate, not the current BMW engines themselves.

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