Mike Stevens | Sep 9, 2009

MERCEDES-BENZ HAS REVEALED it will delay the announcement of its customer engine partners for 2010 despite initially indicating they would be confirmed by Monza.

Recent revelations surrounding Mercedes taking a stake in Brawn GP has prompted the delay as the German manufacturer is rumoured to be unwilling to support Red Bull Racing should the deal come to fruition.

Red Bull Racing was keen to make the switch to a Mercedes power plant after suffering reliability problems with its current Renault supply in recent weeks.

While the deal was on the verge of receiving confirmation in the last fortnight, Mercedes is said to be unsure at the prospect of supporting three championship contending outfits in addition to Force India.

If the Mercedes deal were to collapse, Red Bull could find itself in further bother, with Renault seemingly contemplating a withdrawal from the sport following allegations the team manipulated the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The FIA has alleged Renault asked Nelsinho Piquet to deliberately crash and force a safety car period, allowing team-mate Fernando Alonso to maximise an early pit stop strategy.

Alonso had been considered a remote contender for race victory heading into the event, but Piquet’s incident allowed the Spaniard to jump to the head of the field and claim his first win of the season.

f1_ferrari_felipe-massa_01

Meanwhile, Ferrari will announce it has secured a long term sponsorship deal with Spanish bank Santander at Monza this weekend.

Santander has long been linked with a switch to Ferrari since inking a three year deal with McLaren to coincide with the arrival of Spaniard Fernando Alonso in 2007.

Alonso’s swift departure from McLaren though prompted Santander to decide to withdraw its support of the Woking-based outfit at the end of its current agreement, and switch to Ferrari.

The sponsorship agreement is likely to foreshadow the expected arrival of Alonso at Maranello next season, but any announcements concerning Ferrari’s 2010 driver pairing will be delayed for now.

Ferrari is reported to have continued doubts over Felipe Massa’s future condition despite receiving the all clear from doctors last week.

Team powerbrokers are concerned the Scuderia may be left with only one top-line driver should it release Kimi Raikkonen only to discover Massa will be unable to fulfil his 2010 obligations.

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+