Aug.17 (GMM/ Red Bull and Mercedes appear to be closing in on an engine deal.

Earlier, a collaboration between the arch-enemies appeared impossible, but Mercedes’ Toto Wolff is no longer ruling it out.

“If we think about the long term, we must discuss the pros and cons rather than just wipe the issue from the table,” he told the German newspaper Bild.

And he also told Auto Bild Motorsport: “We need to find a balance between pure egoism and the welfare of the sport.”

As Red Bull’s relationship with current engine partner Renault crumbles, Bernie Ecclestone has gone on the record to admit he hopes the French carmaker buys struggling Lotus.

Germany’s Auto Bild newspaper reports that if that happens, Red Bull would no longer be the ‘premier’ Renault-powered team, and the 2016 contract could be voided.

Until then, however, Wolff said he is staying out of the Red Bull-Renault spat.

“We respect that agreement,” he insisted. “Therefore, there are no negotiations between Red Bull and us.”

The very latest development is that Mercedes’ board in Stuttgart has now reportedly given a green light in principle to a Red Bull collaboration.

And the influential Dr Helmut Marko also appears to be on board.

“We no longer have an engine in formula one,” he said. “It is a power unit and in all of its complexity, Mercedes’ is simply the best.”

Marko said he can imagine a Red Bull-Mercedes collaboration working effectively, even though in the past it has been ruled out on all sides.

“Yes, they would help us to be a strong competitor, but in the end it would still be a Mercedes (engine) winning with Red Bull.

“Secondly, their victories would be even more valuable when they beat us and, thirdly, formula one would be a lot more exciting again,” Marko argued.