Mercedes is braced for the next McLaren-Honda era

1990: Ayrton Senna of Brazil in action in his McLaren Honda during the Monaco Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna during the height of the McLaren-Honda partnership

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has added fuel to speculation McLaren could be preparing for Honda power in 2015.

It is now strongly rumoured that, as per the British team’s contract with Mercedes, McLaren will use German engines next year for the start of the new V6 era.

Then, the switch will be made to works Honda power, as the Japanese marque returns to Formula 1 for the new era.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that the situation is making Mercedes nervous, because McLaren – and therefore Honda – could gain a lot of knowledge from Mercedes’ approach to the V6 rules before going it alone in 2015.

Wolff, the Mercedes team shareholder and director, is quoted as suggesting the German marque is indeed nervous.

“You can never completely prevent a transfer of technology know-how,” he said. “But we can try to protect ourselves.”

His comments would suggest that, given the complexities of the all-new rules next year, Mercedes’ efforts to shut out McLaren could be a clear disadvantage for the Woking based team ahead of its rumoured Honda switch.