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Wolff eyes 'B-team' concept

NEWS STORY
01/01/2018

Having done a U-Turn of Theresa May proportions in backing out of its Honda engine deal for this year, Sauber has instead forged even closer links with Ferrari.

Having run a year-old Ferrari engine in 2017, this year the Swiss team will benefit from the latest specification power unit to come out of Maranello.

Furthermore, the Swiss cars will sport the logos of Alfa Romeo, which will also be incorporated into the team's name, the legendary manufacturer, part of the Fiat Chrysler group.

Having run Antonio Giovinazzi in the opening races last year, the Italian deputising for Pascal Wehrlein, the Hinwil outfit will this year run F2 champion, and leading light of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Charles Leclerc.

This, of course, is in addition to the close ties the Italian manufacturer has with American newcomers Haas which involves a lot more than simply supplying engines.

At Mercedes, Toto Wolff can see the benefits of such a move and admits he would not be averse to running a similar B-team type operation.

"I think what Sergio Marchionne and Maurizio are doing is very clever," he told 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 Vasseur 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."

"It's something that we are considering," he said of entering a 'relationship' with another existing team. "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," he admitted, "we are having discussions but nothing is done yet."

The most likely candidates would surely be Force India, where, Mercedes protege, Esteban Ocon is serving a worthwhile apprenticeship.

Though Wolff was previously a shareholder in Williams, it is thought the Grove outfit might be too precious in terms of its independence to agree to such a move. Though the predicted pairing of Sergey Sirotkin with Lance Stroll this year suggests money could be an influence.

Then again, in F1 isn't it always?

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 07/01/2018 23:59

"@Bill Hopgood
Quite so, but easier with hindsight...
Having said that I doubt McLaren has the cash to run two teams, and Honda would never have subsidised a chassis as poor as Manor's.
I very much doubt they're paying Toro Rosso antything like as much as it cost them to sub McLaren."

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2. Posted by NS Biker, 02/01/2018 5:29

"Should be called "D" teams, for Development.
This is not just for drivers, but under the current limits on Power Units, what better way to do real-life engine and component development work than use the "D" team. Grid penalties would not be as big an issue as would be the case for the "A" Team.
Pity the fool."

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3. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 01/01/2018 21:43

"A B Team is something McLaren should have done by purchasing Manor and using that team as the Honda experiment as Red Bull are doing with Toro Rosso.

McLaren could have stuck with Merc to see how things panned out and saved a whole lot of pain and suffering. Honda would have been a bit less in the limelight. Manor would have had a future. Merc would have had McLaren as a benchmark along with Williams and Force India.

The only thing that would have messed this up of course is Honda having their second worse year as their third and by then McLaren would have moved to Honda. Then again, there would have been two teams supplying data and hopefully this would have helped with issue resolution.

Satellite teams in MotoGP seem to work well and they even win sometimes. It will be interesting to see how the Ferrari/Sauber/Haas situation develops, should Ferrari allow those B teams to get podiums and finish ahead of themselves.
"

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4. Posted by Anthony, 01/01/2018 13:11

"It would be great to see Williams establishing a closer relationship with Mercedes."

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