Mercedes evaluating possibility of closer future Force India links

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says the manufacturer will "explore all avenues" as it evaluates a closer future collaboration with Racing Point Force India

Rival teams have expressed concerns that Force India will be adopted as a Mercedes B-team, and while Wolff downplayed that suggestion he acknowledged that there were opportunities for the two teams to move closer to the Ferrari/Haas model.

"Obviously a few years ago when Ferrari spotted the potential in collaborating closely with another team it triggered a thought process with everybody else," Wolff said when asked out the situation by Autosport.

"And only Ferrari will know how much benefit they have generated, but there is benefit in such a co-operation if it is structured well.

"No team wants to be a B-team, no team wants to be a junior team. Everybody wants their own success, and this is something you need to honour and respect in F1.

"If you can meet on eye level, a collaboration makes sense. But making it happen is not trivial. "

All of us are structured, all of us have processes in place that make sense, and evaluating potential opportunities is something which we will clearly do.

"Force India is six-eight miles down the road from us, they are a team which punches above its weight class.

"The [Spa qualifying] result confirms my respect for them in terms of racers, and within the permissible regulations we will explore all avenues."

Renault and McLaren have both expressed concerns about the increasing political and technical power of Mercedes, and Wolff acknowledged their concerns.

"I absolutely understand it," he said. "[But] it's interesting that the administration of Force India triggered these strong sentiments.

"Collaboration existed before between Ferrari and Haas, and then Sauber joined the closed party. And on the other side Toro Rosso and Red Bull have existed forever.

"But I completely understand the worries of McLaren and Renault on the other side.

"It's just a matter of the right regulations [being] in place to facilitate collaboration where you can save costs, and where you can find synergies - but maintaining the spirit of the F1 regulations, that this is a constructors' championship, and should also stay one."

Wolff also played down the role of Mercedes had played in the rescue of Force India, which was bought-out by a group led by Lawrence Stroll.

"We were involved, as we were the largest creditor, but not involved in the process," he said.

"The administrator managed the process and kept us informed during the various stages. And, obviously we entertained discussion with all potential bidders.

"Towards the beginning of the shutdown or the week after Hungary that narrowed down to a handful of potential buyers.

"We explored the opportunities in working together and everybody was keen in understanding our position and obviously the Stroll consortium was chosen by the administrators as the preferred bidder and that is it."

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