Earlier this week, engine manufacturer Mercedes that that they are not interested in powering Red Bull, but Mercedes could provide Manor with engines in 2016.
The Manor team are currently powered by Ferrari, but under the current deal they are using 2014 engines while Mercedes supply power units to Williams, Force India and Lotus as well as their Brackley-based works team.
There have been reports circulating in the paddock and also on social media that Red Bull could become a Mercedes customer team next year, but those hopes were dashed at Monza over the weekend with the Milton Keynes outfit now in discussions with Ferrari.
Meanwhile the Lotus team appear to be closing in on a Renault takeover; which could pave the way for Mercedes to power Manor.
In an interview with Autosport, Mercedes’ head of motorsport Toto Wolff stated the following about the talks with the Manor F1 team as follows:-
‘On the engine, we had some discussions and they’re interested in exploring the competitive environment. They have a Ferrari engine today but it’s a young team and a new team and they need to meet with all engine suppliers and make the best deal for yourself. This is why we’ve been talking to them.’
Under current regulations an engine manufacturer can only power three teams, but Mercedes received dispensation from the FIA to supply Lotus with engines this year and they will again need permission from the governing body if they are to sign a deal with Manor.
Further on in his interview with Autosport, Wolff added the following about the situation:-
‘It’s a capacity question [with Manor] and at the bottom we don’t know what is happening with Lotus and Renault and this is why you have to keep all options open.’
As Wolff rightly points out in his interview, we don’t know what is happening with Lotus and Renault at the moment and both parties are doing the right thing keeping both of their options open. With both parties already talking about engines; we could see Manor switching to Mercedes power if they feel that it is the best thing for the team and its future in the sport.
All we can do is see what happens in the next few weeks and if both parties are willing to commit to each other; if the terms are right for them both.