Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff admits his team could be interested in following what he described as a "visionary" path taken by Ferrari by forming 'B-Team' alliances with those further down the grid.
The Scuderia has broadened the scale of its partnerships in recent years, offering significant technical support to the Haas F1 team before and during their first two years on the grid and in 2018, Sauber will become effectively a junior team with academy member Charles Leclerc racing and Antonio Giovinazzi as the reserve.
Ferrari also used the renewal of their two-decade collaboration with the Swiss team to revive the Alfa Romeo name in Formula 1 for the first time since 1985, with both companies coming under the Fiat Chrysler umbrella, and it is something that has made Wolff stand up and take notice.
"I think what [Ferrari President] Sergio Marchionne and [Team Principal] Maurizio [Arrivabene] are doing is very clever," the Austrian told ESPN. "They've had a good relationship with Haas and what they are doing now with Sauber is very visionary.
"With Fred [Vassuer] he has a team principal on the other side who knows the business inside out and it can be an alliance that can be dangerous for us."
Despite the competitive nature of F1, these kind of partnerships are far from new. McLaren has worked with other teams including Force India in the past providing technical help and Red Bull has had a 'B-Team' in Toro Rosso since 2006.
"It's something that we are considering," Wolff added. "It's not easy because you don't want to distract your own organisation with a collaboration with another team on the other side. We are not the only ones who are having intelligent ideas and we are having discussions but nothing is done yet."
Mercedes wouldn't be short of options either with Williams and Force India both current engine customers. The latter has become perhaps the most closely associated offering opportunities for the likes of Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon and George Russell, all drivers linked to the German manufacturer, to gain F1 experience.
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