F1 pundit Peter Windsor says there would have been scope in past engine regulations for Mercedes to cut their excelling customer team McLaren down, but not anymore.
There are currently four teams on the Formula 1 grid powered by Mercedes engines – the works team themselves, plus McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams.
Mercedes though have found themselves in F1 2023 battling with, and at times defeated by two of their customers, McLaren and Aston Martin.
Mercedes could no longer give McLaren poor engine
McLaren are the team which is arguably showing the greatest potential out of the pack chasing Red Bull, which also features Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin.
So with Mercedes getting upstaged by their customers at times, Windsor was asked during his latest YouTube livestream whether Mercedes could look to “screw” McLaren if they continue to out-develop them into F1 2024.
Windsor believes Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff would “probably like to do that”, but alas sees no way that he possibly could.
Unlike in F1’s past, the FIA now has a ruling in place determining that all power units from a manufacturer must be capable of performing in the same way, therefore the option to give a customer an underpowered or unreliable PU is not on the table for Mercedes.
“Well in the old days, probably would have, but I don’t think they would now,” said Windsor in response to that question.
“I think the problem is now, it’s quite difficult for Toto to do that, because the engines are all homologated and that is the engine you get. So I don’t think there’s any chance, as much as he’d probably like to do that. I don’t think he could, by the rules, sadly.
“But in the old days, of course, with the Cosworth DFVs and all the customers, and originally it was with Lotus exclusively and then all the customers got it. It all evened out because all the engines were rebuilt by different builders all over the UK.
“Alan Peck, John Nicholson, Cosworth themselves and so forth, but I don’t think you can do anything now really. So, I don’t think Mercedes could do that. I’m sure they’d like to!”
While McLaren are arguably the most-improved team of F1 2023, their surge came too late to challenge Mercedes for P2 in the Constructors’ Championship. Their battle instead is with Aston Martin to keep hold of P4.