Why Doesn’t McLaren Build Their Own Engine?

Video why doesn't mclaren build their own engine

If you’re in the market for a reliable and powerful engine, you may wonder why McLaren, a leading automaker, doesn’t produce their own Formula 1 (F1) engines. While it seems logical for a renowned company like McLaren to manufacture their own engines, there are several reasons behind their decision. Let’s explore why McLaren relies on external engine suppliers and the impact it has on their performance in the F1 racing world.

Limited Resources and Expensive Development

One of the main factors preventing McLaren from building their own engines is the lack of resources. Developing a high-performance engine requires extensive expertise, substantial investment, and ongoing research and development. McLaren’s focus lies in producing exclusive sports cars, and dedicating resources to engine development would divert attention from their core competencies.

Moreover, the cost associated with creating engines from scratch is exorbitant. McLaren’s latest attempt in 2018 resulted in a fourth-place finish in the F1 season standings. The high cost of their engine, coupled with competition from brands with better technology, has hindered their ability to dominate the F1 racing circuit.

McLaren’s Strategic Focus

McLaren views Formula 1 as a marketing tool rather than a platform for engine production. They see F1 as an avenue to showcase their engineering capabilities and elevate their brand name globally. Building their own engine would significantly increase costs due to limited production capacity and usage restrictions imposed by Formula 1 regulations.

External Engine Suppliers

Instead of manufacturing their own engines, McLaren relies on external engine suppliers. Until 2021, Mercedes-Benz served as their exclusive engine provider, while Ferrari used their custom-made engines. This strategic partnership allowed McLaren to leverage the expertise and technology of industry leaders. By utilizing external engines, McLaren maintained competitiveness on the F1 racing circuit without compromising on performance.

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Future Considerations

Looking ahead, McLaren’s decision to not produce their own engines is likely to persist. As they shift their focus towards racing and collaboration with other teams, McLaren will pass on their engine technology to Red Bull in 2022, with support from Renault. While gasoline and electric cars remain potential future plans, McLaren’s direction regarding engine production remains uncertain.


While it may seem counterintuitive for McLaren – a well-known automaker with a rich history in F1 racing – to rely on external engine suppliers, their strategic decisions align with their goals. By leveraging the expertise of industry leaders and focusing on their core competencies, McLaren continues to be a formidable force in the F1 racing world. Whether or not McLaren will ever produce their own engines remains uncertain, but their legacy as a celebrated car company endures.

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