How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E
By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls
Mercedes made a rod for its own back as the hybrid rules arrived in Formula 1. Bearing in mind the scale and sustained nature of its grand prix dominance, any subsequent factory motorsport effort – especially one underpinned by High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth – would be measured against this yardstick. Whether propelled by combustion or kilowatts, the Three-Pointed Star was expected to come up trumps. Formula E was a case in point.
Back in October 2016, when Toto Wolff announced Mercedes' intention to join the grid, the championship had positioned itself well. Formula E had survived economic fragility and a potential team walkout in its inaugural 2014-15 campaign, when co-founder Alejandro Agag was briefly sacked by his investors. It was just about navigating a tricky third year where races were never far from cancellation.
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