F1: Manor granted Mercedes engines for 2016
Mercedes has confirmed that it will supply Manor Marussia with power units in 2016.
The British team will have current engines, as well as Petronas fuel, for a deal that goes beyond next season.
Manor will also have Williams gearboxes and suspension components. This is the same deal Williams has given to the new Haas F1 Team when they make their first trip to the grid in 2016.
"Mercedes-Benz has a clear Formula One philosophy based around our works Silver Arrows team and supplying benchmark Power Units to independent customer teams," said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. "We believe this approach provides Formula One with greater strength in depth and ensures a deeper level of competitiveness throughout the field.
"In anticipation of Renault’s takeover of the Lotus F1 Team, we are pleased to announce Manor Marussia as a new customer of Mercedes-Benz. It is a tenacious team with a fantastic competitive spirit, and we are all excited to see what step forward they can make next year with their new car coupled with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit."
The future for current drivers Alexander Rossi, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi, remain unclear.
Wolff admitted in Japan that a Mercedes protÃ©gÃ©, such as Pascal Wehrlein or Esteban Ocon (also linked to Renault), could be part of the Manor deal.
However, he suggested whatever discount Mercedes gave to get a driver, it could be trumped by an outsider with a big budget, given that a Manor-Mercedes would be a more competitive package than the current car.
"That could be an interesting scenario, but the harsh financial reality is that Manor needs to refinance themselves and raise the budgets and I’m not sure that we would prepare to place a driver with budgets they could probably raise in the driver markets if we were to supply engines, because it could be an attractive offer for young drivers," said Wolff.
Wolff indicated that should GP3 star Ocon want to take up a Renault offer, even for a reserve role, Mercedes would not stand in his way.
"It’s a bit of a tricky situation. We haven’t got a dedicated driver program, we have Pascal, who is with us, whose main focus is DTM, and I don’t want to take him away from that focus.
"He has done a great job for us and he is a very exciting young driver, but I’d rather like to see how DTM pans out. So yes, that’s a possibility, but it needs many pieces of the jigsaw to come together, and it could well not happen."