There have been rumors of Manor-Marussia getting Mercedes engines next year. I think Mercedes likes the idea of the engines going to Manor rather than a real rival for obvious reasons, but how about a less obvious reason?
Say Mercedes gives Manor a good deal on their power plants, with the understanding that they get some input on the driver lineup. Then Manor-Mercedes becomes a Toro Rosso-esque feeder team for Mercedes.
This makes sense to me. If Lotus is purchased by Renault, Mercedes loses a team. If they give engines to Red Bull, the Red Bull chassis is always a high quality machine and Mercedes might be in danger of being upstaged by one of their customers.
Mercedes’ other teams are probably more interested in themselves than in being a feeder team, but Manor? Where they were this last offseason, you’d have to think they’d jump all over a chance at some financial security.