Red Bull and AlphaTauri have responded to the baffling rumour by shooting it down ahead of the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second race of 2023.

They were asked about the unfounded idea that Mercedes-Benz have set a deadline of the Australian GP (the third race of the season) to see improvement in Toto Wolff’s team, or they will prioritise their customer team Aston Martin with engine development.

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"Why should Mercedes make a competitor stronger? That makes no sense,” Red Bull’s Helmut Marko told Sport1

“Despite all cooperation, at the end of the day, Aston Martin is a competitor for Mercedes in the passenger car sector. 

“Mercedes will now do everything to make the disappointing start to the season forgotten. 

“With this ambitious task, there is certainly no room to help Aston Martin."

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said: "The rumours are nonsense. 

“The regulations clearly stipulate that engine manufacturers must receive the same material. 

“And as far as I know, this is meticulously adhered to by everyone. Favouring a team is therefore forbidden and unrealistic."

Aston Martin’s F1 team currently have their engines manufactured by Mercedes.

When Mercedes were outperformed in Bahrain by their customer team, it was a damning indictment of their 2023 development. Wolff has already called for the W14’s concept to be rethought.

Aston Martin, whose new driver Fernando Alonso finished on the podium in Bahrain, are warning that there is more to come from their AMR23.