Mercedes 'ready' for stiffer competition from customers like McLaren

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Mercedes is now "ready" to face greater competition from customer teams such as McLaren from 2021.

That is the claim from team boss Toto Wolff as he suggested the British outfit could well push the works team at the front of the grid when the new regulations come into effect.

However, the Austrian believes that possibility and other potential hurdles that come with supplying an additional team are worth it.

“We learned it was an advantage having more power units out there,” he said via PlanetF1.

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“There’s maybe a process and logistic question because everybody needs to be supplied at the same time, but there is more upside in it going forward.

“There is a financial upside, so it’s a cashflow question which is helpful on the power unit side and overall, there are many pros.

“There is one risk in this: that if McLaren does a good job, they will push hard and maybe benchmark us in a way to say ‘that’s the same power unit, and you guys are not doing a good enough job'," Wolff noted.

“But where we are now, seven years into the hybrid era, we are ready for that step.”

Mercedes' other customers, Racing Point and Williams, are also looking to benefit from the 2021 overhaul with a budget cap and new car designs aimed at closing up the grid.

And now to add one of F1's most successful teams to their list, Wolff insisted the direction is only positive for the German manufacturer.

“A new era is going to start in 2021 with compressed grids, more competition and we believe that from a PU side there is more learning for us in this exercise, with more competitive customers adding to the two that we have," he explained.

“We rate McLaren strongly, the steps that Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO] and Andreas [Seidl, McLaren team boss] have initiated certainly look very promising.

“The advantages outweigh the potential deficits of fighting a hard competitor like McLaren in the future.”

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