Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says regulation changes could lure Lewis Hamilton from McLaren


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The Independent Online

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes future changes to the Formula One regulations could prove a lure for Lewis Hamilton.

From 2014, and for the first time in many years, engines are to switch from 2.4-litre V8s to 1.6-litre V6s, with greener, leaner specifications.

As an engine manufacturer at the forefront of the change, whereas McLaren will be a full-paying customer, Mercedes could reap rewards given the new rules are being seen as a major game changer.

To further stir the pot, McLaren will start paying Mercedes for their engines from next year given the latter are no longer a shareholder of the former.

It means McLaren having to find a further 15 million euros (£12m) per annum for the engine and KERS power-boost package to compete in Formula One.

The suggestion is that money, ironically, will be used to fund Hamilton's pay packet by the German manufacturing giant should he opt to switch to Mercedes.

As far as Hamilton is concerned, if he wants to be competitive in the future - even though Mercedes have won just once in 50 Grands Prix - it may prove useful for him to be aligned with a manufacturer.

"I think it is a consideration," said Brawn.

"In reality, we will probably have two customers and they will be given parity with the engines that we use at the works team.

"So I don't think teams are going to have a worse engine because they are not a works team.

"But inevitably there is a closer involvement with how the engine is created and developed, so that is a fact."

Brawn has confirmed McLaren will be powered by Mercedes engines from 2014, despite the chance of running with a new supplier, insisting "it is their choice, we have a commitment".

To that end, speculation surrounding Mercedes' own future in F1 is poised to be resolved.

Earlier this year Mercedes were fuming they were not part of a new arrangement which sees Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull given seats on a new F1 board as part of the new Concorde Agreement.

Unlike their three rivals, Mercedes have yet to sign up to the deal - a tri-partite pact that governs teams, motor sport's governing body the FIA, and F1's owners on a commercial basis.

It is a situation that has been ongoing since March, yet Brawn maintains a deal is close and they will be in F1 through to the end of 2020 at least.

Asked whether Mercedes would be around for the foreseeable future, Brawn added: "There is no doubt.

"We have had, as you know, tough discussions, but I am optimistic we will be able to close those discussions soon.

"That is obviously a high level of commitment, but Mercedes are very committed to F1.

"Bernie's (Ecclestone) new deal is until the end of 2020, so he is asking for a commitment from teams for eight years. Whatever develops will be for a substantial period.

"It's about finding the best solution. We are working with Bernie to find the best solution, and I think we are very close."