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McLaren CEO insists the F1 isn’t coming back, but the rumor refuses to die

Rumors of a modern-day McLaren F1 recently sent supercar enthusiasts into a frenzy. According to a report, the yet-unnamed model was scheduled to come out in 2018, but there’s only one problem: McLaren boss Mike Flewitt shot down the report, insisting that the rumors are unfounded and completely false.

“I regularly get asked for three seats and a V12, and a manual gearbox. I just don’t think there’s a real business case to do one of those,” Flewitt affirmed on the sidelines of a financial results meeting.

“We loved the F1, but we’re not going to make another one,” the CEO added to drive the message home.

Originally published by British magazine Autocar, the report claimed the F1’s heir would take the form of a hyper-GT positioned near the very top of the McLaren lineup. Its interior was set to use the same 1-plus-2 seating configuration as the F1 (pictured), and insiders reportedly described the cabin as “a work of art.”

Flewitt’s comments might mean that a modern-day F1 isn’t happening, period. However, we can’t ignore how his statement was worded. The limited-edition coupe was said to use a 700-horsepower evolution of McLaren’s ubiquitous 3.8-liter V8, not a V12, which Flewitt alluded to. In fact, McLaren hasn’t offered a street car powered by a V12 since the original F1 went out of production 17 years ago. And while there was no mention of what kind of transmission the coupe would use, a manual would be unlikely at best for cost and demand reasons.

Related: One-off McLaren P1 pays homage to F1 GTR with Gulf livery

Autocar responded to Flewitt in an interview with Car & Driver. Jim Holder, the magazine’s editorial director and the author of the story, insisted the report is credible.

“I’m entirely confident in the story. It’s well-sourced and verified, and a scout around dealer comments and forums should leave anyone questioning its veracity in no doubt about its truth. There are customers and potential customers out there openly discussing the car as described,” he said.

We’ll have to wait a couple of years to find out whether McLaren is secretly planning another megacar, or if no truly means no.