Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says the manufacturer will not open discussions with Red Bull whilst it is discussing its future with Renault amidst rumours an early split is being considered.
Rumours in the paddock this weekend have hinted that Red Bull is considering ways to end its current deal with Renault at the end of the 2015 season and not at the end of the 2016 season as per its contract, Reuters
It comes as Renault reportedly nears a deal to purchase the Lotus team and return to F1 as a fully-fledged manufacturer, which potentially puts it at odds with Red Bull and the deal that states it must get 'priority' status in its supply.
Indeed, though Christian Horner told Crash.net
that he expects Renault to honour this clause
, rumblings are that Red Bull is considering its options as contingency anyway.
Should Red Bull end its deal, it now has even less time to source a replacement, though Mercedes is considered to be the likeliest candidate, particularly if Lotus – which currently uses Mercedes engines – reverts to Renault.
Despite this, Wolff says Mercedes will only enter into negotiations once Red Bull has officially clarified its position and refused to divulge finer details of any potential deal.
“We said and this is still the situation that we will not interfere into an existing relationship for many reasons. Legally we don't do this and it is not the way we approach business in general. Then you must not forget that when you go back a long way, we were having many corporations that is an industrial partnership which is how describe the gold and silver very amicable, industrial relationship.
“This is why we said, until that is resolved between the two parties, we will not even start any discussions because it hasn't reached that time and the complexities are quite large, with the many decisions to be made.”
As it stands, Red Bull could yet remain with Renault for 2015, at least until the end of the 2016 season when its current deal ends, though Mercedes seems its only viable alternative option as Ferrari looks set to supply four teams next year, while Honda has already ruled out the prospect of expanding beyond McLaren.