Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that rumours surrounding a possible departure from F1 are ‘nonsense’, after signing a five year deal with INEOS.
Mercedes’s immediate future in Formula 1 appears to have been all but formally confirmed, after team boss Toto Wolff branded recent rumours of a departure from the sport as ‘nonsense’.
Speaking at a press conference in London where the team unveiled their 2020 livery design after signing a five year sponsorship deal with chemical company INEOS, Wolff said: “Like always, we’re in this for the long term. 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.”
Addressing the rumours that circulated recently about a possible emergency meeting at Daimler in February about Mercedes pulling out of F1 at the end of 2020, Wolff simply said: “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.”
“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.”
As regards a timeline as to when Mercedes might sign the Concorde agreement for 2021, Wolff said he’s hopeful this will be addressed this season: “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.”
“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 that would be an uncomfortable situation.”