Mercedes keen on Manor partnership to continue

In what has the potential to be one of the best weekends of the season for the team, Manors weekend started with encouraging news regarding its continued partnership with leading F1 team, Mercedes F1.

At present Mercedes supplies engines to Manor, while both its development drivers in Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon now have race seats with the team.

“When we started the [Mercedes F1] project a couple of years ago there was no capacity for setting up a junior programme,” said Wolff.

“Max [Verstappen] is a good example. He fell through because we didn’t have a system in place.

“The only thing we were able to offer him was a seat in GP2, but that was clearly not as good as a Toro Rosso seat.

“We obviously made an agreement with Manor for Pascal, and that works well, and then the opportunity [for Ocon] came up because [Rio] Haryanto was out.

“We had a couple of weeks of negotiations, found a reasonable deal, and there are areas where we support Manor.

“It seems the relationship is having different angles now.

“We’re not a shareholder, we don’t plan to be, and we don’t want to own the team or subsidise it.

“The main objective is to win championships with Mercedes, but there could be a co-operation with Manor that goes beyond what we do today.

“So the plans of having a junior team, which we would co-own, haven’t changed. We will not co-own another Formula 1 team.”

At present Wehrlein and Ocon’s drives with Manor are on the back of Mercedes offering the team a discount on the cost of its power unit supply package.

That is an arrangement that could continue for next season should Manor be happy with the performance of both drivers, and Mercedes be willing to again offer a rebate on the price of the engines.

Even if the team do secure that all import 10th position in the constructors championship and secure the guaranteed funds that come with finishing in the top 10 three seasons in a row, money still remains tight back at the Banbury HQ.

Technical assistance as well as the loan of two potential stars of the future and the best engines on the grid, a deal with Mercedes looks like the best way forward in the short term for the team as it attempts to establish itself as a solid midfield runner.