3-time World Champion and Formula One legend Niki Lauda, who is the non-executive chairman of Mercedes AMG Petronas, said following the Japanese Grand Prix that the German team would provide the British team with engines. The decision means that four teams on the grid will be powered by Mercedes; among them are Mercedes’ own works team, Williams, Force India and Manor.
Formula One team Manor have been on Ferrari power units for the past two years, including in their previous existence as Marussia in 2014. At the time, the late Jules Bianchi was their primary driver, and was poised for a move to the Ferrari team the following season. The young Frenchman would suffer a tragic accident at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka that year, however, with the injuries leaving him comatose until his death 9 months later.
”We will supply them [Manor] with engines for next season.” said Lauda, live on air on Sky Sports F1. Mercedes have asked that their test driver, Pascal Wehrlein, be given a seat on the team.
Wehrlein, who is from Germany, takes part in the DTM or Deutsche Tourwagen Masters for team Mercedes-Benz, and has 3 wins in the class so far.
It was announced towards the end of 2014 that he would be a reserve and test driver for Mercedes AMG Petronas, but he has also participated in preseason testing for both Mercedes and Force India.
British driver Will Stevens was being partnered by Spaniard Roberto Merhi for the majority of this season, with Merhi being replaced by American driver Alexander Rossi at the Singapore Grand Prix. The Stevens-Rossi team also raced together at the Japanese Grand Prix, and will partner each other for the next three Grands Prix – at Sochi in Russia, the USA and the Mexican Grand Prix, with Merhi coming back for the final two races of the year in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
25-year-old Wehrlein, meanwhile, is primed to take the DTM championship title, finishing with points at the DTM in Nurburgring.
Red Bull and its sister team Toro Rosso are also in engine trouble – after a difficult season with several engine issues (and penalties for drivers as a result), the Austrian outfit have severed ties with their engine manufacturers Renault, with whom they were earlier set to be in partnership through the 2016 season. Following this, Red Bull approached Mercedes for power units, but were rejected by management and team boss Toto Wolff. Their driver Lewis Hamilton was also said to be against supplying engines.
The Bulls, who have announced no changes to their driver lineup for next year, are allegedly approaching Ferrari for power units in 2016.