Mercedes' future remains in F1, says Daimler
The Mercedes Formula 1 team intends to stay in the prestigious motor racing series for many years to come, according to its parent company Daimler.
Reports in recent weeks and months have suggested that the team has been looking at letting their current Formula 1 contract expire at the end of the postponed 2020 season, and not renewing it for 2021 and beyond, but Daimler has now said these reports are “unfounded and irresponsible.”
In a statement, the company said: “It is our clear intention to continue competing in Formula 1 as a Mercedes-Benz works team in the years to come, and to do so with our managing partner Toto Wolff.”
The Concorde Agreement, which binds competing teams to Formula 1, runs out at the end of this year, with a new deal yet to be agreed. A new arrangement was reported to be closed in January this year but was then put further back down the list of priorities after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent sporting shutdown.
Chase Carey, the sport’s chief executive, said on an earnings call last month: “We had been in the final stages of completing the Concorde Agreement when the coronavirus crisis turned everything on its head.
“We decided to put the Concorde on the back burner for the short term, and prioritise addressing issues relating to 2020 first.”
A German media report last week suggested that Wolff, who has been an executive director of the Mercedes team since January 2013, would be standing back from his operational role in the near future and that Lawrence Stroll, the billionaire investor who currently owns the Racing Point team, would be buying Daimler’s Mercedes stake.
After concluding a major five-year sponsorship deal with Ineos, the chemicals company, in February this year, Wolff said: “This partnership, and the fact it is long-term, indicates that we wish to continue… This sport provides a great marketing platform for the brand."
Formula 1 still has not started its 2020 season, after the outbreak of the virus earlier this year caused a wave of race cancellations and postponements.
Plans are currently in place for action to start with two consecutive races in Austria in early July, before potentially another in Hungary, and then a further two back-to-back grands prix at Silverstone in the UK in August.
In its statement, Daimler added: “Formula 1 has taken the right measures to address the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and its future financial sustainability, and we welcome these steps.”
Mercedes are the defending world champions, having won the last six constructors championships in a row.