Three prominent Formula 1 personalities have rubbished a wild rumour about Mercedes.
One publication this week attracted attention by reporting that Mercedes’ Toto Wolff-led works team risks losing the full backing of Brixworth-based Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.
According to the story, Brixworth could shift its ‘works’ focus from Brackley-based Mercedes to the newly-competitive Aston Martin – effectively making Mercedes more of a mere engine ‘customer’.
Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost calls the rumours “nonsense”.
“The regulations clearly prescribe to the engine manufacturers that all customers must receive the same material,” he told Sport1. “And as far as I know, everyone adheres to this meticulously.
“Preference for one team over another is therefore prohibited and unrealistic.”
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, meanwhile, says the rumours don’t even make sense.
“Why should Mercedes make a competitor stronger?” he said. “At the end of the day, Aston Martin is a competitor for Mercedes in the passenger car sector.
“Mercedes are going to do everything to forget the disappointing season opener, and in this ambitious task there is certainly no room to help Aston Martin,” the Austrian added.
As for F1 legend Gerhard Berger, he acknowledges that Mercedes and Aston Martin already collaborate outside of Formula 1 – but he thinks the interests of the two carmakers will remain separated in the F1 paddock.
“For the fan, Mercedes races against Ferrari, Aston Martin, Renault and everyone else. They are the opponents they have to beat for image reasons,” he said.
“So you certainly wouldn’t help your opponent like that.”
Berger also tips Mercedes to bounce back ahead of its customer Aston Martin in the near future.
“The next few weeks will show whether Aston Martin is consistently stronger than Mercedes or whether that was only the case in Bahrain,” he said.