Mercedes is not ruling out making Manor its de-facto 'B' team. Team boss Toto Wolff admits he has some concerns about the new close relationship forged between title rival Ferrari and the new American team Haas.
"We look at it with one eye laughing, one eye crying," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "Ferrari has taken an intelligent step in collaboration with Haas, and it could well be that it has had a performance result. If that is true, they have done everything right," said Wolff.
His comments indicate that rumours Mercedes is now contemplating emulating the Ferrari-Haas formula by teaming up with the newly Mercedes-powered Manor may be true.
Asked if Manor is already the 'B' team, Wolff insists: "No. But besides Pascal Wehrlein, they will also use one of our wind tunnels."
As for whether a Mercedes-Manor alliance will now follow hot on the heels of Ferrari-Haas, he added: "You have to keep all the possibilities open. If within the rules it is possible to bring performance through cooperation between two teams then you have to explore it," said Wolff.
"I am not entirely convinced that it is the right direction for formula one to have the big teams using B teams to try certain development directions. But we have big rule changes coming for 2017 so it could be worth something in gold. But as a philosophy, as I said, I don't think it's right," he added.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing