Mercedes could emulate Haas-style tech partnership with customer team

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the German manufacturer could establish a closer technical partnership with one of its customer teams based on the current Haas-Ferrari model.

To help ease its entry into F1 in 2016, Haas relied on a technical partnership with the Scuderia for the supply of specific authorised parts in addition to its power unit.

Mercedes has observed the benefits of Ferrari's relationship with its customer team, and Wolff believes a similar relationship could be initiated with either Williams or Force India.

Lawrence Stroll, a man with a vested interest in Williams, has apparently encouraged the Grove-based outfit to consider a closer tie-up with its engine supplier, but deputy team principal Claire Williams has dismissed the idea, insisting the British team must remain independent and a genuine F1 constructor.

"I think we have seen that the system between Ferrari and Haas has worked, it has worked for both," said Wolff.

"It’s an interesting revenue filler for Ferrari, and I think in terms of synergies, there is a lot you can work on, and it has functioned for Haas.

"They are a very competitive team without having built on a legacy, or without having built on know-how that would have taken years and years to collect.

"So far the system is very successful, and of course our thinking goes in that direction – whether it is Williams or Force India to collaborate.

"But we are in the middle of a tough fight for this 2018 championship, so we need to prioritise."


While Mercedes' deal with Williams is limited to a supply of engines, the manufacturer's collaboration with Force India includes the use of its gearbox and complete hydraulic systems.

Wolff believes a technical partnership with one of its teams could be set up as early as next year, and wouldn't discard forging a closer association with both of its customers in the future.

"We can do something for 2019. We have certain capacity," he said.

"We are not that far. The devil is in the detail. It is not only about production, but it’s also it is about getting in order not to distract yourself, you need to do it properly.

"It would be a long-term project and not something where you can expect a huge impact for 2019. You need two or three years to ramp up," he added.

"If you do it in the right way, it can be beneficial. But it needs to be done in the right way because you need to get the balance right between distraction and really optimising the synergies. It’s not trivial."

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