‘Prohibited and unrealistic’: Red Bull rubbish Mercedes engine rumour

Aston Martin were the top Mercedes-powered team at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost, Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, and ex-F1 driver Gerhard Berger have all rejected the idea that Mercedes-Benz might give preferential treatment to Aston Martin instead of the factory Mercedes team, following several reports.

It has been reported by several sites that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been given an ultimatum by senior Mercedes figures, to get the Silver Arrows back to the front or lose the best engines to Aston Martin.

Aston Martin are, of course, a Mercedes customer team and have started the 2023 F1 season emphatically, with a podium at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Silverstone-based side were so fast, in fact, that they moved ahead of Mercedes in the pecking order, leading to reports that Aston Martin are set for preferential treatment if the factory side continue to disappoint.

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Tost, though, has labelled such speculation as “nonsense”, given that “all customers must receive the same material”.

“The regulations clearly prescribe to the engine manufacturers that all customers must receive the same material,” Tost told Sport1.

“And as far as I know, everyone adheres to this meticulously. Preference for one team over another is therefore prohibited and unrealistic.”

Marko, too, has questioned why Mercedes’ bosses would want to “make a competitor stronger”, given that it’d only result in the factory side being further behind the leading sides.

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“Why should Mercedes make a competitor stronger?” Marko said.

“At the end of the day, Aston Martin is a competitor for Mercedes in the passenger car sector.

“Mercedes are going to do everything to forget the disappointing season opener, and in this ambitious task there is certainly no room to help Aston Martin,” the Austrian added.

Berger spoke in similar fashion to Marko, with the ex-F1 driver wondering why the Germans would want a stronger rival, given that they’re currently enduring their own mini crisis.

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Berger also noted that Mercedes need to beat Aston Martin for “image reasons”, something which would become increasingly difficult should they be given the best equipment.

“For the fan, Mercedes races against Ferrari, Aston Martin, Renault and everyone else. They are the opponents they have to beat for image reasons,” Berger said.

“So you certainly wouldn’t help your opponent like that.”