PLAYING CATCH UP: A report suggest that Mercedes is using Williams as a buffer between it and Ferrari. Image: AP / Rob Griffith
Mercedes is manipulating the balance of power among its customer teams, according to a Spanish media report.
El Pais newspaper said Williams, Lotus and Force India each pay the equivalent of R320-million per season for the team's F1-leading turbo V6 'power unit'.
The report said not everything is equal.
That is despite both Williams and Mercedes denying Felipe Massa's claim recently that the Grove team might not be fully up-to-date with the latest engine developments of the works team.
El Pais claimed: "The Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas are usually one step below (the works team), and then (the situation) is different still for Lotus and Force India".
The report said that, in China, Williams suddenly took a step forward in the power stakes - perhaps in a bid to give the works team a buffer between it and the chasing Ferraris.
El Pais wonders why customers do not then complain about Mercedes' manipulations: "Because of clauses in the contracts."
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