Mercedes technical director James Allison has revealed the team are relaxed about Red Bull’s plans to form a closer alliance with their sister team due to the “very powerful” rules in place.
After years of underperformance, Red Bull and the soon-to-be-renamed AlphaTauri outfit are becoming closer aligned – a move which has prompted numerous strong responses from McLaren in particular.
However, Mercedes do not seem to share the same concerns as their engine customer because the FIA regulations are very clear on what information can and cannot be shared.
Mercedes: The rules don’t allow close technical collaboration
Allison, who recently signed a new long-term contract extension with Mercedes, actually believes Red Bull and their sister outfit are still going to be quite limited under their new plan for 2024 and beyond.
“I’m not entirely sure what the nature of the relationships between those two teams is, but I am clear on what the rules are,” Allison said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“And it is that other than the very limited part of the car where you are permitted to supply parts, and therefore a certain amount of technical data alongside those parts, in every other respect the rules are very tight about not passing on anything that could be regarded as intellectual property from one team to another.
“The way that rule is written is very broad and very powerful, and it pretty much makes any communication not permitted.
“If two teams have a strong relationship with each other, it can only really be a strong commercial relationship.
“It cannot be a strong technical or a strong sporting relationship because the rules forbid that.
“In the past it was more open, and the relationship that Mercedes enjoyed with the team that is now Aston Martin, at the time that was a relationship that permitted much greater freedom than it does today.
PlanetF1.com’s recommended reading
The relationship Allison is referring to is the one Mercedes formed with the team that used to operate under the Racing Point moniker during the 2020 season.
The RP20 was dubbed the ‘pink Mercedes’ due to its uncanny similarities to the Mercedes W10, which won 15 out of 21 races in F1 2019, and that very car was referenced when Red Bull boss Christian Horner was asked in Abu Dhabi as to what we can expect to see on the grid this year from Red Bull’s ‘B’ team.
“I mean, we’re an awfully long way away from a pink Mercedes,” Horner told media, including PlanetF1.com, at the 2023 season finale.
“There’s some transferable components that are clearly listed within the regulations that you’re allowed to supply. And that’s what they get.
“When you look at the car, there’s quite fundamental differences between their car and a Red Bull Racing car. And arguably, there’s other cars on the grid, which are far closer in concept than an AlphaTauri is.
“Of course, there’s certain components that we can supply as is the case with Ferrari and Mercedes that supply two Grand Prix teams with gearboxes and suspension and simulation tools, a wind tunnel.
“And that’s the identical relationship between the companies, of course. It’s then down to them how they use those tools.
“And you can see that McLaren have used the tools in certain respects better than their supplier has done in the second half of the year.
“So it’s really down to them, how they made use of what they’re permitted within the regulations.
Information about AlphaTauri’s rebrand is expected in the coming days.