Mercedes Less Likely to Supply Second Team in 2004

Mercedes-Benz are less likely to supply engines to a second Formula One team next season, the German company's motorsport boss suggested today.

Mercedes Less Likely to Supply Second Team in 2004

Mercedes-Benz are less likely to supply engines to a second Formula One team next season, the German company's motorsport boss suggested today.

Norbert Haug said in the Silverstone paddock that the candidates to use their engines next year looked likely to opt for a rival company.

"There is no final decision taken," Haug said of supplying another team apart from McLaren. "There are obviously only two or three teams [that are possible candidates]. I think one team is fixed [into a contract with another supplier] already, the second team probably as well, and maybe the third has already a commitment for next year.

"So what we wanted to do is certainly create the possibility of an engine supply, but we certainly do not want to force it, do not want to step in. So that needs to be sorted out first. But basically we are prepared, and the offer is there."

Jordan, Sauber and Minardi are the only three teams that are not backed by a car manufacturer. The engine rules will change in 2004, when each unit must last an entire race weekend. The manufacturers agreed to make them available to the smaller teams at an affordable price.

Jordan, currently using Ford engines, has been linked by the media with a Mercedes engine supply for next year. The team principal met with Mercedes heads this morning at Silverstone, but McLaren chief Ron Dennis denied the visit had anything to do with an engine deal.

"He's just had a meeting with [Mercedes-Benz chairman ] Prof. Hubbert and received a briefing on GPWC," said Dennis.

"The GPWC board members - many of whom are here today - extended an invitation to all the team principals to meet with either of them or all of them, and Eddie took up that opportunity to meet with Mr. Hubbert, to get a briefing on the current status. That was the entire content of the meeting, nothing to do with engines."

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