Toto Wolff sees no reason why the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team cannot have a much closer working relationship with one if its customer outfits, much akin to the kind of alliance Scuderia Ferrari has forged with the Haas F1 Team.
The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport has seen the Haas/Ferrari partnership work for both parties, and he believes it could benefit his team by partnering with one of their current customer outfits, meaning either the Sahara Force India F1 Team or Williams Martini Racing outfit could find themselves with closer technical links with their engine suppliers.
Claire Williams has distanced her team from doing it as she aims to keep Williams as a true independent entrant, but Wolff feels there is potential to do something either with them or with Force India in the future.
“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.”
Wolff says it could happen as soon as 2019 but obviously nothing has been decided, and even if it does go ahead next year it would unlikely have an immediate impact on the customer team involved.
“We can do something for 2019. We have certain capacity,” said Wolff. “[But] 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.”