If Saved, Honda Could Get Mercedes-Benz Power

If Saved, Honda Could Get Mercedes-Benz Power

As suggested in yesterday’s post about Ferrari rejecting requests from Ross Brawn to supply engines to the team for 2009, Mercedes-Benz are considering teaming up with the squad. Mercedes currently supply (and part-own) the McLaren team, and the German marque will also supply Force India this season. However, they have the capacity to send a few power units to Brackley as well. There are, however, some conditions that Honda will have to meet.

Mercedes motorsport chief, Norbert Haug, has said that his employers could supply engines to the team, although it remains to be seen iof they can be saved in time for the opening round of the 2009 championship. With only 71 days until the paddock descends on Albert Park in Melbourne, time is quickly ticking away.

If there is a feasible solution with an investor for that team, we would be prepared to discuss it. But the financial background needs to be there. Norbert Haug.

Haug obviously has concerns about signing a contract with the team only to have them disappear mid-season due to lack of funds. This would leave Mercedes high and dry, and with the current economic climate the way it is, the automobile industry is being very careful about what it spends its money on.

You cannot give any presents at this time and in this [financial] climate, but we would like to help for the sake of Formula One. Ross Brawn and Nick Fry and their guys have done a good job so far, so if we could be in a position to help we certainly could try to do so. But the financial feasibility is very important. It needs to be 100 per cent bulletproof. Norbert Haug.

Haug was insistent to point out that any extra workload caused by a deal with Honda would not infringe on the current pace of development, although the German was also keen to say that the engine department are working flat out, and that even the change from V10 to V8 wasn’t as labour intensive. Engines in 2009 will have to last 3 races, the revs have been reduced and the plant ideally needs to incorporate KERS technology.

We have lots to do with KERS and the new rev limit and so on, which is a really big task. You have to do longer runs with the engines to prove they are ready. The guys in Brixworth are working flat out like never before. Even when we changed to V8 there was not as much to do as there is now. Norbert Haug.

Hopefully Honda can do a deal with Mercedes, but it would have to be signed and sealed very soon. Ross Brawn has stated that it would take about six weeks to modify the RA109 to accommodate a new engine, and with the cars being shipped out to Australia in mid-March, this leaves the team until the end of January to sort contracts out.

The race for Honda right now is perhaps more frantic than any grand prix they have taken part in.

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7 comments

  • Thing is, having more teams on your books means that there is more money for Mercedes, and more ‘testing’ mileage completed. This is even more important now that in-season testing has been prohibited. I imagine a lot of engine testing is done with the plant on a dynamo thingy, rather than in the car, but there is nothing like putting an engine through it’s paces in a more real-to-life situation. But as Haug said, Honda have be in a secure financial position – he doesn’t want to get screwed.

    Plus, Mercedes and McLaren get to say “look how nice we are, helping out the little teams and keeping the sport going.” There is a political side to this as well!

  • I’d be surprised if the FIA permitted Mercedes to supply a third team (and unlike Ferrari, they would need permission because they’ve never supplied three teams before). More likely they’d tell one of the teams supplying only themselves so far to do it, or Ferrari would be persuaded to change its mind.

  • How about BMW? BMW has no “B” Team for now – Ferrari w/ STR, McLaren w/ Force India, Renault w/ Red Bull, Toyota w/ Williams. With this, we can have 2 teams with the same engine manufacturer. Also, BMW are the most prepared team in terms of the KERS development. With the new point system, points will be given to the engine manufacturer not to the team. Did I get it right?

  • I’d be surprised if the FIA permitted Mercedes to supply a third team

    Bernie would lean on Max because he needs teams signing up, not withdrawing. That’s my take on it, anyway.

    Did I get it right?

    Spot on. I agree, it would be fair for all involved if BMW supplied a second team (making 2 teams per engine as you say), and I mentioned similar in the post. However, BMW haven’t really said much about selling engines in the past, despite the powers-that-be wanting the manufacturers to share out their units to bring development costs down. If anyone is going to supply another team, it’ll likely either be Mercedes or Ferrari (who have already declined in this case).

  • The FIA can’t block Mercedes from supplying three teams when they have allowed Ferrari to do the same thing.

  • They can because of the rules. What they can’t do is justify such behaviour to an F1 community which is not only aware of the regulations, but of previous acts where the neutrality of the FIA has been seriously questionable.

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