Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has conceded that he does not believe his team can sustain power supply for all of their customers, so they may have to lose at least one of them.
Currently, Mercedes manufacture power units for Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams as well as serving the works team, meaning that they make a minimum of 24 engines every year.
This inevitably becomes more when teams end up needing more than three engines per driver depending on damage or reliability issues and, with inflation continuing to rise, the Silver Arrows will begin to lose money.
This is partly due to the fact that there is a cap of 12 million euros on how much a supplier can charge a customer.
“Unfortunately, the business of leasing engines is not compelling and interesting because the FIA has put in a certain limit that you can charge to your customers, in order to protect the smaller teams,” Wolff told the Financial Times.
The Austrian did not elaborate on which team Mercedes may decide to drop, but he affirms that he would like to “downsize.”
“I’d rather have six [client cars], push the development further down the line and then make two engines less, because you need to produce two less plus two spares for every team,” added Wolff.
“In an ideal world, I would maybe see us plus two [customers], so actually downsize a bit,”
George Russell finished fifth in Monaco for Mercedes on Sunday with Sir Lewis Hamilton in eighth after a lengthy rain delay at the start of the race.
The delays were caused in part by the torrential rain, but also by power issues it caused which rendered the start lights unusable, and also began to impact on television coverage.
Race control found a gap in the weather to get going, and they eventually completed over 60 laps in what became a time limited race.
Wolff was a little frustrated at the typical difficulties in overtaking at the 3.3 kilometre circuit, but praised race control for getting the grand prix underway.
“That was the usual chaotic race in Monaco – and again, a lesson that we need to look at this circuit layout so people can’t drive around five seconds off the pace in a procession,” he said.
“This is a fantastic venue and spectacle but it would be great if the racing could be at the same level.
“With the length of the race and the delays and interruptions, it felt more like an NFL game than a grand prix – but I’m not sure much else could have been done.
“We need to give the race directors credit for managing a difficult situation. The rain at the beginning was torrential, then there was an issue with the connectivity for the TV broadcast which meant we couldn’t get going.”
Russell’s P5 at Monaco means that he has finished all of the first seven races of the season in the top five.