Andrew Green, Toto Wolff, 2019

Mercedes not adopting Haas-Ferrari ‘B-team’ model with Racing Point

2019 F1 season

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Racing Point’s use of Mercedes wind tunnel does not signal the beginning of a Haas/Ferrari-style co-operation between the two teams, according to Toto Wolff.

The Mercedes team principal denied their engine customer, which already uses their power units, gearboxes, hydraulics and some associated electronics, will not adopt what some have called a ‘B-team’ arrangement.

“First of all, we are not doing a Haas-Ferrari model because Haas was a new entry, a team created from scratch,” said Wolff when asked by RaceFans in today’s FIA press conference. “These guys existed for a long time.”

“Our model is very different,” he added. “Andy [Green, Racing Point technical director] and his team know pretty well what they want to achieve with the car, they have a solid technical group of people and will go in that direction.”

“They will be using some of our infrastructure and we will see where that moves for the 2021 regulations. Once these are carved out, we will decide which of the areas we want to collaborate and where it is possible, regulatory-wise.”

B-teams have been criticised by some team principals who fear they will make the cost of entering F1 prohibitively high for new manufacturers and price existing constructors out of competition. But Wolff believes they can help make F1 more competitive.

“I don’t see what’s so bad in a Haas-Ferrari model actually. We have enabled somebody that was keen to enter Formula 1 in setting up a team, with the cooperation with Ferrari it got out of the blocks really well, and fights solidly in the midfield. I think that’s good for Formula 1.”

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019
Haas use Ferrari suspension; Racing Point make their own
As RaceFans revealed this week, Racing Point will begin using Mercedes’ wind tunnel within the next few months. Green said the change was being made “for purely efficiency reasons.”

“Our aero department happens to be located in Brackley,” he explained. “Mercedes’ wind tunnel happens to be located in Brackley. It’s a lot easier to go testing in Brackley than it is in Cologne. So, when it was offered as an opportunity for us to go testing there, it was an obvious choice.”

Green said he hopes changes to F1’s rules planned for 2021 won’t affect Racing Point’s relationship with Mercedes.

“We take their gearbox and hydraulics as well,” he said. “I’d like that to stay. I think that’s everything that is being discussed for 2021, I think that’s all on the agenda.”

“It’s where we go forward as a team, thinking ahead for 2021,” he added. “We want to build our team to be the most efficient team based around those regulations and when those regulations are finalised we will have a clear idea of what we need to do.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Mercedes not adopting Haas-Ferrari ‘B-team’ model with Racing Point”

  1. I have absolutely no issue with what Haas do. My only concern would be with a situation with say Red Bull and STR that they let their drivers through easier and hold up others in the pursuit of a race win or championship. If it means more teams on the grid or existing teams staying then the rules are doing their job of making it more cost effective to be in F1 and compete like Haas are showing is possible.

    1. We might want to define what a B-team is.
      To me STR is a B-team to RBR; they are testing (drivers, PU, probably some technical directions) for the mothership.
      Haas is just a smart independent organisation which picks the most economical solution for all it’s business challenges.

      The problem with Racing Point is not that they will be using a different wind tunnel (which happens to be Mercedes’), or that they acquire as many listed parts as they can from Mercedes. The problem I had (last year) with them is that one of their drivers was contracted to Mercedes who at times acted like a 3rd Mercedes driver rather than a FI/RP driver.

      1. @coldfly – I couldn’t have said it better – we seem to be seeing two different definitions of B-teams used at times, and the Ocon/Monaco situation is a great example of the more negative case.

        1. That is not a case that was created because of a B-Team sort of scenario. That is because Ocon went to two debrief meetings, the one with the team he was driving for and the team he has a contract with. Perez never did anything of the sorts. In fact if anything he eliminated the “problem” at times

      2. @coldfly Yes I agree. That’s why I said what Haas are doing is fine. What RBR and STR have is less fine as one team has control over the other or like in your example one team has control over one of the other team’s drivers.

        1. @tonyyeb, obviously I fully support your initial comment.

          PS interestingly STR(‘s drivers) was behaving better in Melbourne by fighting Gasly than Ocon (and even Leclerc) did in some instances last year.
          Maybe STR is the only true B-team on the grid (still wonder where Alfa Romeo will go), but there are various B-drivers (defined by contract and on-track behaviour).

          1. Str drivers often will ruin a rb drivers race if they see that driver as competition otherwise they let them go far easier tha you would expect.

      3. Yeah I’m kind of over it, B team B team B team… Doesn’t even make sense. I’m glad the comments here are all pretty much pointing out how wrong of a term it is for something HAAS is not.

        Whatever they call it, doesn’t really matter. Bring on the ‘21 regulations so we can see if it will be allowed in the future.

    2. So you are afraid of actions like Ocons last year… i can imagine that.

    3. #tonyyeb Force India was the 2nd b team to exist after STR. Eddie Jordan had been saying for years that SFI were receiving texts with commands from Wolff, things like when to pit and when to go out in qualifying, I dismissed these comments for the longest time, not that it didn’t make sense but more that this collaboration was almost irrelevant. Williams used to get between the mercs and rb and ferrari all the time and williams botched a Silverstone win just to gift ot to Mercedes that’s also questionable not to mention the lotus mercedes spa incident with .8s on power modes to overtake vettel. I guess with Williams being slow and racing point having new ownership, where’s their new b team, they mist find a new one.
      Ocon and sfi went off limits with their tactics last season, F1 should’ve not buried the issue but rather take a stance, f1 getting to show like, too phan boi eesh, taking out raikkonen in baku, coluding with merc on monaco pit stop and hitting verst on purpose, too much.

      1. B-teams were around a long time before SFI. Remember the blue Benettons? The chassis were Benetton chassis. Having said that I would rather STR fold and have them run 4 Red Bulls.

        1. Meaning Ligier owned by Brawn.

          1. Or Flavio? Or both? I can’t remember which.

  2. So, when it was offered as an opportunity for us to go testing there, it was an obvious choice.”

    When it was offered: Does that mean that Mercedes asked Racing Point if they wanted to use their tunnel or did Racing Point make the initial approach?

  3. The Mercedes team principal denied their engine customer, which already uses their power units, gearboxes, hydraulics and some associated electronics, will not adopt what some have called a ‘B-team’ arrangement.

    Shouldn’t this be: The Mercedes team principal denied their engine customer, which already uses their power units, gearboxes, hydraulics and some associated electronics, will not adopt what Racefans has called a ‘B-team’ arrangement.

    Because in the full press-conference not a single person mentioned B-Team. And the question came from Dieter. So that ‘B-Team’ comes from whoever wrote the headline and article here, in Racefans.

    And if RP starts a similar relationship with Mercedes to what Haas has with Ferrari they won’t be their B Team. Unless I’m the B-Team from Asus, because I bought the computer where I’m writing this.

    1. Exactly. If anything, Alfa Romeo is the B-Team

    2. Except that everyone in the media & in the pitlane is calling it B-Team rules.

      Go Google how Cyril feels about them …

  4. One thing we can be 100% certain of … if Toto is denying this, then Racing Point will definitely be following the Haas model going forward.

    If Toto had the same tell as Pinocchio, the journalists seated in front of him at these press conferences would be in serious danger.

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