Mercedes to supply Manor with engines from 2016 season
Manor to replace Lotus in Mercedes' customer stable from 2016 in deal that will see minnows run 'current-year power units'; Manor also strike technical deal with Williams as they plot move up grid
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 01/10/15 5:34pm
Mercedes will supply Manor with their latest engines from next season after agreeing a 'multi-year agreement' with F1's backmarker team.
In a deal which has the potential to help transform the competitiveness of the Banbury-based outfit, Manor will swap the year-old Ferrari units they have been running this season for "current-year power units throughout the term" of their new Mercedes agreement.
The expected announcement also essentially confirms that Mercedes will not supply Lotus next season, with the Enstone outfit in the process of being taken over by Renault.
Fierce rivals Red Bull had held talks about taking a supply of Mercedes' class-leading engine, but talks broke down leaving the former champions short on options to remain in the sport. Force India and Williams are Mercedes' other existing customer teams.
Manor, meanwhile, have also simultaneously agreed a technical deal with Williams Advanced Engineering, who will supply them with transmission and suspension components.
"I am delighted to announce our new power unit partnership with Mercedes-Benz for the 2016 season and beyond. Although there were many factors governing our selection of an engine partner to help power us towards our long-term ambitions, ultimately the strength of the Mercedes-Benz package speaks for itself," said Manor team principal John Booth.
"2015 has been a rebuilding year in every aspect of our operation. Although we have not been able to make the incremental strides in competitiveness that the team has enjoyed in previous seasons, we have put in place a strong foundation from which to progress. Together with the potential we are seeing with our 2016 car in the wind tunnel, the Mercedes-Benz power unit will assist our return to aggressive performance development with effect from next season."
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff added: "Mercedes-Benz has a clear Formula One philosophy based around our works Silver Arrows team and supplying benchmark power units to independent customer teams.
"We believe this approach provides Formula One with greater strength in depth and ensures a deeper level of competitiveness throughout the field. In anticipation of Renault's takeover of the Lotus F1 Team, we are pleased to announce Manor Marussia as a new customer of Mercedes-Benz. It is a tenacious team with a fantastic competitive spirit, and we are all excited to see what step forward they can make next year with their new car coupled with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit."
Despite entering administration in the closing months of last season, the former Marussia team returned to the grid under the Manor Marussia name following an 11th-hour takeover by businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick. Running a revised version of their 2014 car, the team have remained rooted to the back of the grid this season with chances of progress hindered by little development of the chassis and an out-of-date Ferrari engine.
The Italian marque were left as one of the main creditors when the original outfit went into administration and Booth has praised them for the assistance they provided to help the team get back on their feet.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Scuderia Ferrari for their support for our team over the past two seasons. In 2014, together we shared in the momentous occasion of the team's first points and in 2015 Ferrari supported us to a degree that was above and beyond the requirements of our partnership agreement," Booth added.
"Quite simply, we could not have returned to the grid without them pushing extremely hard to support the MR03B, at the same time as focusing on their own 2015 package."