Wolff says report of Mercedes F1 exit is "nonsense"

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has labelled recent suggestions it is preparing to leave Formula 1 as "nonsense" - as he says the focus of parent company Daimler is on remaining in the sport for the long term.

Wolff says report of Mercedes F1 exit is "nonsense"

The German car manufacturer has been on the receiving end of speculation about it remaining in F1 beyond the end of this year because, like other teams, it has not yet signed up to a new Concorde Agreement that is being discussed between teams, FOM and the FIA.

But speaking at a press conference on Monday, where Mercedes announced a new principal sponsorship deal with multinational chemicals company INEOS that runs for five years, Wolff said that he was comfortable with where things stood as talks continues.

"Like always we are in this for the long term," he said. "F1 provides a great marketing platform for our brand. This is what we do.

"We build race cars and we build road cars. F1 is the halo platform for hybrid engineering. That is something that is not communicated enough, because it was talked down at the beginning of the V6 hybrid era. And it's something we should really put more emphasis on.

"In that respect with, with all the things that are out in the media, we like the platform, but at the same time, we're in a negotiation with the rights holders, and things need to be sorted out. But the partnership is clearly something that indicates our wish to continue our successful journey in F1."

Read Also:

Recent stories suggested that Mercedes was preparing to withdraw from F1 as part of a major cost-cutting exercise for parent company Daimler, with a decision due to be made at a forthcoming board meeting.

But Wolff hit out at that report, as he suggested that the in-depth analysis Mercedes had been conducting about its future in F1 was normal procedure for any major company.

"F1 has always been a great provider of headlines over the winter break. And by the sheer lack of racing results and the controversy on track, dropping a bombshell of a headline, always sells," he said.

"And in that respect, I'm always surprised that there's just some lunatic out there that writes something on an internet page and it's being picked up, which was a complete nonsense story, which was put straight by the CEO of Daimler the following day. That is one part of the story.

"The other part is that with everything we do, we have to question is it the right activity that we deploy? It's whether it's in the petrochemical business, whether it's as an OEM in the car industry, or whether it's F1.

"We, as Daimler today, we see the advantages and the benefits that Formula 1 as a marketing platform provides to us and we see the data. And that is the underlying condition why we're doing it."

Wolff was clear that with Mercedes attracting the INEOS sponsorship on top of its title deal with Petronas, plus the impact of the cost cap coming for 2021, that the door was there to make F1 profitable for Daimler.

"This is exactly what we have as our target," he said. "We want to make it a no brainer from the sheer numbers. The marketing is huge and the return on investment should be the icing on the cake.

"We see that in the American sports leagues that most of them, the NFL or the NBA, are profitable franchises. And this is my personal aim and my personal contribution with our partners to turn this into such a corporate company, so that from a service standpoint it becomes a no brainer to participate."

Wolff said it was impossible to state for certain when negotiations to finalise the Concorde Agreement would be complete, but he hoped it would not drag on until the start of 2021.

"It's an ongoing process and it's a complicated set of contracts, trilateral contracts between the FIA, the commercial rights holder and all the teams," he said.

"That needs time and the devil is in the detail. So I wouldn't want to commit here to give you a specific date because there are quite some topics that remain to be agreed on.

"It's work in process. Clearly there is the will and the wish for all of the stakeholders to come to a close before we embark on the 2021 season, because [otherwise] that would be an uncomfortable situation."

shares
comments
Mercedes unveils tweaked livery for its 2020 F1 car

Previous article

Mercedes unveils tweaked livery for its 2020 F1 car

Next article

Wolff: Indications show Chinese GP is happening

Wolff: Indications show Chinese GP is happening
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021