Toto Wolff doesn’t believe that any Mercedes AMG-powered teams are unhappy with their engines, insisting that the team has “always” given its engine customers the same engines as the works Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team.
The FIA sent a technical directive to all Formula 1 teams in January that reinforced the already in-place requirement that any team supplying engines sends hardware identical to their own, with the addition that software and operating conditions must now also be the same.
Fuel and oil specifications must also be the same, unless the team being supplied has opted out.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Wolff said he doesn’t believe it was action from any of the teams Mercedes supplies that prompted the re-issue of the directive, because Mercedes has ‘always’ complied.
“I don’t think any of our customers was pushing for it,” said Wolff. “It’s not relevant for us, because the rules have been in place for a while that you must supply the customers with the same hardware and software from a power unit standpoint, and we’ve always done that.”
Sahara Force India F1 Team and Williams Martini Racing are Mercedes’ two engine customers, and finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Constructors Championship. Though not the best team using another supplier’s engines last year – that accolade went to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in third – the two Mercedes customers finished comfortably in front of Renault-powered Renault Sport Formula One Team and Scuderia Toro Rosso, Ferrari-powered Haas F1 Team and Sauber F1 Team, and Honda-powered McLaren F1 Team.
Williams were also the only team outside of the top three to secure a podium finish last season, when Lance Stroll finished third in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – just milliseconds behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
Talking about whether Mercedes keep any settings just for their team, Wolff argued that they would only be hindering their own performance if they did, and that having six cars on the grid allows them to improve faster than if they had two.
“Identical modes for the customers and us. There has never been any difference,” said Wolff. “They have the same mileage allowance as the works team, there is no difference whatsoever.
“That’s why we have no problem with that. If there is any suspicion out there, it certainly wasn’t anything that would have any consequence for us.
“We have the belief that sharing modes and engine calibration among six cars triggers a steeper learning curve for us than running different engine specifications between the customers and the works team.”
Asked on whether improvements in fuel are also withheld, Wolff reiterated that nothing is held back from customer teams.
“No, never. It’s the same philosophy again. We’re all using the same fuels, because we’re calibrating our engines on one spec of fuel.”