‘Nonsense’: Red Bull slam Mercedes and Aston Martin rumour

Fernando Alonso overtook both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on his way to third at the season-opening Bahrain GP for Aston Martin.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has expressed his opinion that Mercedes’ senior figures will not give preferential treatment to customer team Aston Martin, with the Austrian wondering why the Silver Arrows would want to “make a competitor stronger”.

Aston Martin were sensational at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, with the Silverstone-based team having shown impressive pace throughout the weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Fernando Alonso’s podium was proof of that, with the Spaniard having finished as the top Mercedes-powered driver.

The factory team struggled once again, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell having settled for fifth and seventh.

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Following Mercedes’ woeful start to the season, a rumour began to circulate that team principal Toto Wolff has been given a deadline to turn things around or lose preferential treatment.

According to Sport1.de, the rumour going around states that Aston Martin will be given the best equipment by Mercedes if the factory team fail to perform at the next few races, something Marko doesn’t understand.

The Austrian doesn’t see any truth in the rumour with Aston Martin being a “competitor” of the Germans, with another rival being the last thing the Brackley-based team need.

“Why should Mercedes make a competitor stronger?” Marko told Sport1.de.

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“That does not make sense. Despite all the cooperation: At the end of the day, Aston Martin is a competitor for Mercedes in the passenger car sector.

“Mercedes will now do everything to make the season-opener, which was disappointing for them, forgotten. In this ambitious task there is certainly no room to help Aston Martin.”

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost went a step-further and labelled the rumour as “nonsense”.

The AlphaTauri boss explained how “all customers must receive the same material” as the factory team, meaning Aston Martin already receive the same equipment as Mercedes.

With the rules being as strict as they currently are, team preference is “prohibited”.

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“The rumours are nonsense,” Tost said.

“The regulations clearly prescribe to the engine manufacturers that all customers must receive the same material. And as far as I know, everyone adheres to that very meticulously.

“A preference for a team is therefore prohibited and unrealistic.”