Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff has revealed the German manufacturer would have been willing to supply McLaren with engines in 2018, however, ran out of time to secure a deal.
The Woking-based outfit was seen in talks with representatives from Mercedes with speculation about the topic they were discussing ranging from an engine deal to potentially a collaboration with Honda to increase the speed of development.
Ultimately, nothing definitive came out of those meetings and, after a brief approach to Ferrari, a three-year contract with Renault was eventually signed in September as patience with Honda wore out.
"We wanted to give McLaren an engine, the problem is that it dragged on for a long time and we just didn't have the structure in place to supply them an engine for 2018," Wolff told ESPN. "It was simply too late."
McLaren and Mercedes do have a long history, winning three F1 titles together during their partnership from 1997 to 2014 and the Austrian doesn't rule out supplying them again.
"You must never rule out supplying anybody in the future and this is why McLaren or anyone else in the future could be a partner," he claimed.
Wolff's comments are also contrary to claims Mercedes wouldn't give McLaren their engines due to the potential threat they would pose to their works team, something Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has accused them of before.
Interestingly, addressing that suggestion, Toto said it was the lack of respect Red Bull show their current supplier Renault which means they would be unwilling to work with them.
"It is exactly because they are saying it like this and undermining their current partner that they are not having one!" he stated. "In F1, it's about compromise and acknowledging your partner's strengths and weaknesses and helping each other out.
"That is very much the culture we have at Mercedes and that has made us successful in the last few years. Respect is a super important part of our values and this is why we have chosen the partners we have."
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