Wolff exploring idea of Mercedes B-team

Mercedes could soon follow Ferrari’s lead and establish a formal alliance with another F1 team, says Toto Wolff.

Ferrari has enjoyed a technical partnership with Haas since the US outfit’s arrival in F1, and recently established closer ties with Sauber to whom the Italian manufacturer will supply its current power unit in 2018, but under the Alfa Romeo name.

Sauber will also act as a training ground for the Scuderia’s young talent, with 2017 F2 champion Charles Leclerc running with the Swiss outfit this year and Antonio Giovinazzi hired as the team’s reserve driver.

  • Wolff reveals why Mercedes did not supply its engine to McLaren

Wolff views Ferrari’s collaborations as a smart move and one Mercedes must keep an eye on.

“I think what [Ferrari president] Sergio Marchionne and Maurizio [Arrivabene] are doing is very clever,” said Wolff in a lengthy interview with ESPN.

“They’ve had a good relationship with Haas. That has helped Haas and helped Ferrari and what they are doing now with Sauber is very visionary.

“With Fred [Vassuer] he has a team principal on the other side who knows the business inside out and it can be an alliance that can be dangerous for us.”

Mercedes currently supplies its engines to two customer teams, Force India and Williams. And Wolff is considering the idea of a more elaborated tie-up with a partner-team, à la Ferrari-Sauber.

“It’s something that we are considering. It’s not easy because you don’t want to distract your own organisation with a collaboration with another team on the other side.

“We are not the only ones who are having intelligent ideas — we are having discussions but nothing is done yet.”

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