Mercedes customers given 2016 F1 power units

Mercedes have confirmed that their customers on the grid at Formula One's season-opening race in Australia will have the same power units as the reigning constructors' champions.

Only four engine suppliers currently operate in F1, with eight of the 11 teams driven by either Mercedes or Ferrari power units.

Ferrari's customers have typically been given year-old specification units. That is no different this year with Haas F1 entering the sport using Ferrari engines designed last year.

As well as the factory team that has dominated F1 in each of the last two seasons, Mercedes will power Force India, Williams and Manor in 2016, although that trio will not be at an immediate disadvantage to the champions.

Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains managing director Andy Cowell said: "The upgrade that we introduced in Monza last year took a huge amount of effort from the factory at Brixworth, and we only had enough resource to supply the works team with the latest spec at that time.

"However, that is now paying off for every team with Mercedes power as we've managed to build on that development work through the autumn and winter period.

"Now, all our customers are getting an improved package that is exactly the same specification as the works team.

"All eight Mercedes powered cars will have exactly the same hardware and performance potential come Melbourne, which is a good step for everyone."

Fears have previously been raised that Mercedes and Ferrari - the sport's most influential teams by far - supplying the majority of the grid's power units could create a closed shop in terms of competition, but the Silver Arrows' move will almost certainly boost the grid's competitiveness for 2016 - the final season before engine rules will once again be drastically changed.

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