Mar.17 (GMM/ Mercedes has hit back at claims it is not supplying the same specification of engine to its F1 customers.

In Australia, Williams’ Felipe Massa was the fastest non-works Mercedes driver in qualifying, but the gap to Lewis Hamilton’s pole time was a massive 1.4 seconds.

Brazilian Massa admitted he suspects Mercedes might be supplying inferior equipment to its Grove-based customer.

“If we have the same engine the difference should be in the car,” he said. “I hope we have the same engine. I believe we have the same engine, so it’s the car.

“Maybe,” said Massa.

That was on Saturday. After the race, Massa admitted he still has his doubts. “I cannot say 100 per cent” that the engines in the Mercedes and the Williams are the same, he is quoted as saying.

According to Mercedes’ engine boss Andy Cowell, however, the works and customer engines are exactly the same.

“They all have the same engines,” he is quoted by Speed Week.

“Firstly, that way the engineers are able to learn the most, and secondly, we owe that (service) to our customers.

“Third,” Cowell explained, “it would be too costly from a parts point of view to go around with different engine specifications.”