Manor is set to run Mercedes power units in 2016 as part of a reshuffle of engine suppliers on the grid.
Red Bull is central to the movement, with a Mercedes deal now off the table and the four-time constructors’ champions more likely to receive Ferrari units to replace Renault. Manor currently runs the 2014 Ferrari power unit, but a senior team member told F1i in Monza it could take its pick from any of the four engine manufacturers in the sport for next season.
Realistically, Manor was always unlikely to switch to Honda or Renault power both due to commercial factors and the respective lack of performance from the pair in 2015, and a Mercedes contract is now ready to be signed.
Team principal John Booth confirmed to F1i Manor has a number of options on the table and added: “There’s an engine that everybody would like isn’t there at the moment…”
While unsure of Manor’s plans for 2016, Will Stevens told F1i the prospect of having a Mercedes engine would offer a major step forward for the team.
“I’ve actually been trying to work out what would happen if we bolted Lewis [Hamilton]’s engine in here,” Stevens said. “I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be last, so the time I would like to think would be a fairly large chunk. It’s so hard to put a time on it but all I would say is we wouldn’t be last, for sure. With last year’s spec car I think that’s actually pretty reasonable to be there. We know already that next year’s car is going to be quite a big chunk better than what we’ve got for this year…
“To be honest next year I’m not too sure what the plan is but obviously the team want to achieve the best possible results they can. That’s what everyone is pushing to do so it’s good that everyone is talking about that kind of thing and obviously for me that’s an exciting thing to be hearing. So we’ll see, time will tell what’s going to happen and I’m looking forward to it.”