Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has not been having the easiest of times recently, with the Brackley-based outfit once again getting its design concept wrong after last year’s disappointment.
While an ultimatum has reportedly already been served to Mercedes and Wolff which states the team must be in a position to win a race by round 4. Failing to do so will result in the bigwigs at Mercedes-Benz prioritising Aston Martin for the remainder of the season, as they enjoy a 20% stake there.
Red Bull isn’t completely satisfied with the authenticity of this claim, though, but we’ll wait and see how that one pans out by the fourth race.
To make matters worse for Wolff, it has now been reported that Williams, who have been reliant on Mercedes powertrains for a long time, is actively looking at alternative options amidst the recent slump suffered by the Silver Arrows.
Many will know that Williams is currently being run by Mercedes’ former strategy director James Vowles and while his association with Wolff should have led to a sustained partnership, this doesn’t appear to be the case.
Vowles was recently asked about how he saw the partnership with Mercedes and whether it is still as strong despite the team’s recent setbacks.
The former Mercedes man said that the team is still in the process of reviewing its options, which is undoubtedly a very worrying sign for Wolff.
The Williams boss further stressed that his team was not contractually obligated to continue its deal with Mercedes.
“We are at the moment still in the process of making sure we understand all the options available to this team,” Vowles said.
A decision will be reached by the team by the end of the season and if Vowles does go for another option, it will be nothing short of embarrassing for Wolff, who will see his aura in the sport take a significant hit.
Vowles explained why it is so important that Williams assesses its options and that there is no room for personal favours in the sport.
“As you would imagine, it would be foolish to simply just go with where I’m comfortable and what I know,” he said.
“If you go and get your house painted, you get three quotes – I would highly recommend you do that if you don’t – and it’s the same here, I want to make sure I understand what’s available to us.”
Vowles’ comments could lead to an uneasy split between the two teams, potentially impacting Mercedes’ future prospects.