McLaren has hired Formula 1 engine designer Axel Wendorff – but the word in Woking is that journalists should not jump to any obvious conclusions about what he will be doing for the group, as the intention (at least in the short term) is for him to be working on the team’s road car programmes.
For the last 18 months Wendorff has been working for the European offshoot of Japan’s Horiba on automotive emission measurement and testing systems. Prior to that he worked with McLaren for a period after switching across from Mercedes Benz High Performance Engines at the end of 2009. He spent six years as head of engine design at Brixworth. Before that he spent four years at Toyota in Cologne, after beginning his motorsport career with two years at Mercedes-Ilmor from 1994 to 1996.
McLaren sources say that this does not mean that they are embarking on their own F1 engine project becasue they do not believe that such a project is cost-effective for a manufacturer who sells less than a million road cars a year. The fact remains there is some logic in the eventual shift to a McLaren F1 engine if the funding can be found.