Mercedes to sort engine plans by Monza

Mercedes-Benz is hoping to reveal its customer engine plans for 2010 at the Italian Grand Prix, amid mounting speculation that a deal to supply Red Bull Racing has now been agreed

Mercedes to sort engine plans by Monza

AUTOSPORT revealed in April that Red Bull Racing was chasing a supply of Mercedes-Benz engines for next year, once its current contract with Renault comes to an end later this season.

It is understood that Red Bull Racing's recent engine problems have accelerated the moves towards Mercedes-Benz, with an announcement on the outcome of those negotiations expected imminently.

A Mercedes-Benz deal with Red Bull Racing would mean McLaren's engine partner supplying four teams in total next year - as Brawn GP and Force India will also receive customer units.

Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug told AUTOSPORT that he could not reveal the details of any discussions that his car manufacturer was having, but said news would come at the Italian GP in a fortnight's time.

"I definitely will not mention any team names," he explained. "These are confidential negotiations, and I hope by Monza we know everything - so that is a fortnight away. Everything should be finalised by then.

"We have talked to various teams, more than one team, and I would like some understanding that these are confidential discussions so I cannot talk about it any more."

F1's regulations stipulate that any manufacturer supplying more than two teams in F1 needs special dispensation from the FIA. Haug confirmed that his company had received such approval to supply four teams.

"We have that in writing, and I think the FIA is very interested in a manufacturer who helps in this situation," he explained. "There are not so many who would jump in and volunteer and would want more than one customer team, but you have to have the logistics, you have to have the capacity and you need to build it up.

"We could not have done it two years ago, but all in all we build half the engines for four teams including rebuilding that we did for our own team two years ago. This is a big, big efficiency programme. It also helps refinancing, but you need to be absolutely very lean. I am not sure whether everyone could do that."

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said earlier in the Belgian GP weekend that his team was close to making a final decision about its plans - and that recent engine problems would not be the only factor in what his team did.

"We're obviously in a position where, as an independent team, we have a choice of engine," he said. "We've been very, very happy with the supply that we've had from Renault for the last three years.

"Any decision that will be made, will be made not on the outcome of a single weekend but based on what we believe offers us the best opportunity of performance and relationship for the future.

"We haven't made any firm decisions yet, but we're obviously nearing a time when we need to make a commitment for next year."

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