Mercedes could offer Renault and Honda F1 engine lifeline

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff is willing to offer Formula 1 engine rivals Renault and Honda a lifeline in their bid to catch up

Part of the current criticism of F1 surrounds Mercedes' dominance, and although Ferrari has made inroads this season, Renault and newcomer Honda continue to struggle.

In-season development should have been blocked this season, only for Ferrari to discover a loophole that forced the FIA to relax its regulations. That has now been closed for 2016.

Wolff has suggested there is scope to review that block, or to open up certain areas of the power unit for extra development, but he is concerned about the impact on teams' budgets.

"With somebody like Honda, through all this struggle, we need to understand and find ways of enabling them to catch up without changing the DNA of Formula 1," said Wolff.

"But this is why we have always been reluctant about in-season development because it comes at a huge cost.

"Ferrari found that loophole, and it was clever how they did it. Now they say they have maybe opened a can of worms because it is expensive.

"So in the last [Strategy Group] meeting we said although that loophole has been closed and it's not going to happen next year - that's how we see it - if Renault and Honda think they need that, then let's discuss it, whether we reintroduce it.

"Commercially it is not the most intelligent we can do, but if it is what the others need, or what they believe they need in order to catch up, then we will certainly consider that."

Wolff has made clear, though, Mercedes has no intention of freezing its engine development to allow Renault and Honda the opportunity to gain ground.

Addressing the matter of concessions and whether he would be willing to help out his rivals, Wolff said: "Normally if you run a team, or you are an engine supplier, you need to go out there full blast and try to crush everybody.

"But then we need to have sympathy for the ones who are struggling with the new regulations.

"It has never happened before that one was asked to stop development, or to be frozen, to allow the others to catch up. That is not the DNA of F1.

"This is a competition and we are all fighting out there to be the best.

"It's tiny little decisions and mistakes that might have a big effect in the future."

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