Mercedes 'considering' B-team like Ferrari/Alfa Romeo - Toto Wolff

Mercedes could follow in Ferrari's footsteps by creating its own 'B-team' like the Italian marque has done with Alfa Romeo and Sauber according to Toto Wolff.

Sauber will be known as Alfa Romeo Sauber in 2018 following a link-up with the Italian manufacturer which shares a president with Ferrari in Sergio Marchionne.

The partnership is focused on selling more Alfa Romeo cars, but will run Ferrari engines and a Ferrari-backed driver in Charles Leclerc. The team will also receive technical support from Ferrari, effectively making it a B-team and Wolff reckons that's a clever strategy which could aid Ferrari's championship hopes, whilst giving it more power in the sport.

"I think what Sergio Marchionne and [team principal] Maurizio [Arrivabene] are doing is very clever," Wolff told ESPN.

"They've had a good relationship with Haas. That has helped Haas and helped Ferrari and what they are doing now with Sauber is very visionary. It can be an alliance that can be dangerous for us."

Wolff says a similar idea is being considered by the German giant to boost its presence on the grid.

"It's something that we are considering. 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 – we are having discussions but nothing is done yet."

It's not clear what brand Mercedes could use for a junior team as it operates very few subsidiaries, with notable ones including Smart and Maybach, although it does own small stakes in rival manufacturers such as Aston Martin.