Mercedes set for crunch meeting to decide whether it will quit F1

2020 F1 season

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The board of Mercedes‘ parent company Daimler will meet in two weeks’ time to decide whether to withdraw its team from Formula 1 at the end of the 2020 season.

RaceFans, in a joint investigation with Autocar, has learned the meeting will take place on February 12th. Mercedes’ current contract to participate in F1 expires at the end of this season.

Mercedes’ departure would raise immediate questions over the future of its drivers, including reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, and its chassis building operation in Brackley.

While Mercedes’ factory F1 programme has been extremely successful – the team has swept the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in each of the last six seasons – several signs point to a likely exit for the three-pointed star.

Mercedes’ parent company Daimler is under increasing pressure to make savings. Last year it announced a shortfall in profits of several billion pounds and a plan to lay off over 10,000 staff.

The company has spent billions on its F1 programme since reviving its factory F1 team 10 years ago. It has reaped the reward in terms of prize money and marketing while dominating the last six seasons, but the perceived extravagance of participating in F1 jars with the reality of extensive job cuts.

The departure of the team which has dominated F1 since 2014 would have a profound effect on the sport.

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The Mercedes-branded engine operation, based at Brixworth, is expected to continue its participation in F1, which stretches back to 1994. It already has contracts to supply power units to McLaren and Williams in 2021, the latter deal running until the 2025 season.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019
Why should Mercedes continue in Formula 1?
It may also continue supplying power units to Racing Point and whoever assumes control of the former Mercedes team. However recent developments indicate these two may be closely linked.

Sources have suggested current Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, a shareholder in the operation, could partner with Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll, who last month was revealed to be considering an investment in Aston Martin. This would pave the way for the former Mercedes team to be rebranded as Aston Martin in 2021.

Daimler board members attended the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina last year. Head of Mercedes-Benz cars marketing and sales Britta Seeger joined Hamilton on the podium after he scored the team’s 15th win of the 21-race season.

Hamilton’s destination in 2021 was already a focus of speculation before the new details on Mercedes’ situation came to light. A potential vacancy exists at Ferrari alongside Charles Leclerc next year. Should Mercedes pull the backing for its factory squad, it would increase the chance of a tie-up between the sport’s most famous current driver and its most historic team.

Aston Martin declined to comment on this story; Mercedes has been approached for a comment.

Additional reporting by Jim Holder.

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133 comments on “Mercedes set for crunch meeting to decide whether it will quit F1”

  1. Nice title image of cloudy skies over the three-pointed star :)

    It’s no surprise that this decision was in the making, what is surprising is that it has come to light. Assuming Dieter and Jim didn’t get upto Mission: Impossible-style hijinks, one would think that such a meeting would have been kept in confidence (e.g. kept off agendas, referred to by a code name). So kudos to them for breaking this.

    Very interesting – and practical – tidbit about the Aston Martin/Toto link. Aston’s brand cachet would be better upheld by the Brackley-based team than RP.

    1. if RP becomes Aston Martin and they merge with current Mercedes team in 2021, does that mean that Hamilton (if he stays) will be teammates with… Lance Stroll?

      1. Lewis will go back to Mclaren.

        Merc have made such tireless (and successful) efforts to downplay their PU dominance and ensure the PU regs stay the same. They’ve sadly been successful in this and know their dominance will continue unthreatened until 2025, when they will pull out.

        1. PU dominance… unthreatened till 2025?? In terms of raw power, Ferrari was better last year. Mercedes won most races because they had a much better chassis / aero package, but all the pole positions on power tracks (Monza, Spa, Canada, Austria, Japan, etc) went to Ferrari.

          Indeed, reliability wise Mercedes still felt slightly stronger than Ferrari and RedBull, but this advantage is surely not going to last that long.

          1. With the rule clarifications it remains to be seen if Ferrari can maintain engine dominance.

            Many think not.

        2. Excellent post.

    2. sorry, it wasn’t meant to be a reply to @phylyp comment :(

    3. @phylyp Daimler AG is traded quite publicly so any “secret agendas” and “hidden codes” is just nonsense. They are under very tight scrutiny from several authorities about announcing anything that could affect their stock price.

  2. Would be an interesting twist if the reason Mercedes F1 stopped their winning streak was not because the competition caught up, but because the team itself stopped competing.

    Not sure what to think of it, they way this article describes it, it seems like a realistic option, also, wonder whether taking over this great team would mean an easier (legally speaking!) way to reduce the workforce as will be needed to meet 2021+ cost cap, as it can be seen as a takeover/reorganization.

    1. It is, of course, exactly what happened last time Mercedes were in F1, though the circumstances of their withdrawal then were rather different.

  3. Merc should give their best this year, win them all, quit, and became F1 legend.

    1. Like Rosberg?

      1. When did Rosberg win all the races in a season; or even the majority of races?

        1. Mercedes is not going to win all races there are several tracks favorites the other teams too much.

        2. If my reading is correct, I believe @glynh is just making a joke about the juxtaposition of “quit” and “become F1 legend”, by indicating that Rosberg didn’t achieve the latter despite doing the former.

          It’s a joke, just run with it, don’t look for complete factual accuracy :)

          1. @phylyp is right. It was just a joke because Rosberg won then quit and hasn’t really become a legend. :)

          2. I don’t know, it kind of legend-ish. Win a championship and announce your retirement a week later. That fact will never be forgotten. Beating Hamilton is legendary on its own, isn’t it.
            Maybe if Nico looked a little more grizzled.

          3. @phylyp: Correct. When I look for factual accuracy, I look away from the internet.

          4. I knew it just making more fun to make it black/white :)

        3. Agris Rūmītis
          29th January 2020, 21:50

          to become Champion one does not need to win all races. one is enough. ask Rosberg

          1. Potentially even 0 races would be enough, it just hasn’t happened yet and might never happen, especially with an increasing number of races on calendar.

          2. …it also helps if your nearest rival [team mate] DNF’s mysteriosly for no apparent reason [Malasia]

  4. Fiat don’t have a problem with pouring millions into the Ferrari F1 team, and they haven’t won anything for 12 years. Winning races around the globe, creates huge publicity for Mercedes at little expense, considering the $5b they spent on advertising in 2016.

    There’s no way they’d allow their cars to be owned and branded by a competitor, even if Aston Martin are a tiny company in comparison. Toto is a racer, he’d be running Williams if he’d stayed there, he’s in F1 for the long term. We’ve no idea what Stroll Snr will do when his son finally stops racing, which could be any time in the next 10 years

    1. Ferrari is an independent company from FCA, so they don’t have a say, and Ferrari brand image is a race team (hell, their NYSE ticker is “RACE”). You can’t really compare them.

      1. And also, as far as I know, Ferrari is more niche, but expecting to increase their growth by now bringing a SUV to market, rather than having to contend with the diesel scandal, reducing sales, and a need to cut costs, so from that point of view, it is indeedc a rather different case @losd and John Bee

        1. Agris Rūmītis
          29th January 2020, 22:01

          ferrari don’t build suvs to conquer the niche but because others do and too many people require such since they have too much money and too little ideas for better spending it

      2. That John Elkann is chairman of both Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is just a co-incidence eh? The largest shareholder in Ferrari is Exor NV, guess who’s the chairman of that company.

        1. Sure, they’re closely connected, but it’s not all that relevant. Ferrari has their own decision process and their own way to make money.

          And most importantly: their own budget. It doesn’t really matter to them that FCA is burning through cash.

      3. Lewis u-turn to demand more salary for his contract-extention does not make sense with the current uncertain MB-F1-future. If Daimler really wants to cut costs Mercedes F1-future looks like to end.

    2. Fiat don’t have a problem with pouring millions into the Ferrari F1 team, and they haven’t won anything for 12 years. Winning races around the globe, creates huge publicity for Mercedes at little expense, considering the $5b they spent on advertising in 2016.

      But how much do Ferrari spend on advertising? And could a ‘volume’ car manufacturer like Mercedes afford to do without conventional advertising?

      1. I’ll help Joe Bee out with the answer to the first question which is £0. F1 is their advertising.

      2. We know Ferrari don’t spend on direct advertising now, they have in the past, I’ve seen the adverts. Ferrari have used F1 to become an icon, but there is always room for another, as McLaren have discovered. Mercedes produce fast sports cars, we don’t only see them winning races, but they still lead the pack when the cars have slow down too. Priceless advertising.

    3. I don’t think that’s the point, honestly. Maybe a lil bit biased?

      I suppose that winning is very expensive in terms of bonuses every (I suppose) member of Mercedes F1 Team receives throughout the year as victories pile up. I don’t think Lewis (to point maybe the most expensive line) would just appreciate a friendly pat on his shoulder as winning bonus. Nor the management would…

      Maybe Ferrari or other teams may come to a better financial place staying afloat between the second and the third place, maximizing the advertising. but minimizing the bonuses. My guess.
      I’m not saying they face positive figures, but…

  5. Ola Kallenius is a bean counter of the worst kind, and I have no doubt that he and his supporters at Daimler will force a Merxit from F1.

  6. This i would like to see. I am fed up watching Mercedes win everything and more. We need different winners through each and every year. If this does come to pass then Hamilton will win in 2020 and then go and someone else can make the running. The Mercedes juggernaut has just rolled on relentlessly and no one could and can match it…not even Ferrari or Red Bull. I really don’t see any reason why they will not continue in 2020.Hamilton will not be missed. He’s had is time in the sun and has become just another boring entity.

    1. The liberty media argument/FIA, when demonstrations of excellence become boring, we will just get rid of the excellence…

      Why do you watch sports?

    2. “Hamilton will not be missed. He’s had is time in the sun and has become just another boring entity.”

      I was reading your post wondering where the real crux of your post was, and there it was, at the end, waiting to be unleashed, lmao.

    3. Just another sore loser.

      1. Not just a sore loser, he is a born loser

      2. Born losers blame winners for constantly winning rather than look at the incompetence of the losers/themselves, that is why born losers even lose when they have won.

    4. #kenji

      Hamilton will not be missed. He’s had is time in the sun and has become just another boring entity.

      I’m not a Hamilton fan as such but that comment is not just bazaar but it’s totally wrong in my opinion. I would say Hamilton has the highest profile worldwide of any driver and is a very valuable asset to F1.

      1. I agree with your comment too, Lewis is a valuable asset to F1. Yes, he will be missed when he leaves F1, especially if he leaves before his abilities degrade due to age.

    5. I see your point and honestly I do share it from a sport-like point of view. However I don’t think Mercedes has to be blamed for it, but the sport administration itself. Probably biased watchers won’t admit it but, man, F1 is horribly boring: I keep watching it for pure compulsion and always expecting something new, but…
      With that said, Mercedes will be missed for the challenge it anyway brings to the table and Lewis won’t…simply because whatever will happen to Merc, he will stay in the Circus for the next years for sure. And honestly that’s a blessing for the sport. Moreover I can’t believe I’m the only one who wants to see whether his talent is car-related or a genuine one even on more troublesome cars.

      Maybe with Merc disappearing and a more balanced pack, we could see some more midfielders incursions on top. Who knows?

    6. Mercedes earned it. They didn’t cheat their way to it, nor did they put in investments unattainable by their key competitors of Ferrari and RBR.

      Yeah, there were periods of Merc dominance that were boring, but that was more due to the competition not stepping up across the board. I’d hardly blame Merc for the failings of their competition. And those occasions when the competition did step up (sadly, only for a few races at a time, not enough to seal a season), Merc were ferocious in their pursuit of their lost P1.

      And yes, I agree with @johnrkh that Hamilton is probably the only F1 driver to have strong visibility even outside of F1, which is why Liberty also view him an as asset to the sport.

      1. @phylyp – is forcing the PU regs into a direction you’ve been developing for years “earning it”? is using your clout as a manufacturer to have those regs locked in so no one can catch up “earning it”? is operating a close corporate partnership with the sole tyre supplier including an illegal tyre test “earning it”? is the complete lack of any attempt made by f1 to address any of this (as they have countless times in the past when teams show dominance) “earning it”?

        f1 knows the only story it has right now is the re-writing of the record books, courtesy of mercedes, so it’s not going to do anything to stop it. this dominance is founded on boardroom politics more than “the competition not stepping up”. it’s just a shame so few understand the illegitimacy of these titles…

        1. Conspiratorial nonsense and lies, keep crying

          1. @megatron – what an insightful response…

        2. @asherway, the problem with your claim that Mercedes forced the regulations in a particular direction is that the current regulations were originally developed by Renault, not Mercedes.

          The journalist Adam Cooper has previously published extracts from the original proposal document that Renault put to the FIA in 2007 that formed the core of the current regulation set. The twin recovery systems – one thermal and one kinetic – combined with a smaller capacity turbocharged engine was entirely Renault’s idea, and they were the ones who largely drove through the current regulations.

          Don’t forget that, when development first began on these engines, the expectation was that Renault would be the manufacturer that would have the biggest advantage, not Mercedes, because Renault were the first ones to begin development – they were the first manufacturer to develop a single cylinder prototype to demonstrate the viability of the concept.

          Has all of Renault’s lobbying and public support in the early stages to push through what became the current rule package been completely forgotten, as well as the public threats that Renault made about pulling out of F1 if the sport did not adopt their proposals? Have the workshops, which the FIA made formal public announcements about, with potential engine developers that were undertaken to refine the regulations – workshops that involved all of the current engine manufacturers (the first hints that Honda was considering a return to F1 came when it was announced that they were taking part in those workshops) – been forgotten about or ignored?

          I know that some of this work goes back 10, 11 or 12 years ago, so perhaps memories have faded or, if you didn’t read the articles at the time, it’s easy to miss it, but it seems that Renault’s problems with this current regulation set means that people forget how much work Renault was doing to encourage the sport to adopt the current rule set in the first place.

          1. @asherway read anon’s response above.

            Also, the original rules called for an I4 engine until Ferrari threatened to use their veto to force thru a v6 layout. It is well established that all the current PU manufacturers, along with the FIA, led by Gilles Simon, were intimately involved in making the rule set for tge PUs that were ultimately unveiled in 2014(was originally scheduled for 2013).

            Your original post is in fact conspiratorial nonsense.

          2. @anon

            Have the workshops, which the FIA made formal public announcements about, with potential engine developers that were undertaken to refine the regulations – workshops that involved all of the current engine manufacturers (the first hints that Honda was considering a return to F1 came when it was announced that they were taking part in those workshops) – been forgotten about or ignored?

            What was actually ignored is that in those workshops, the FIA relied heavily on Ross Brawn’s feedback to shape the regulations.

        3. I invite you to discuss more on this in twitter, if you have an account. Your post is closest to the fact.

        4. Do not mind the replies. I appreciate your post.

        5. when has F1 been any different? At least they didn’t win cynically and cheat as Ferrari did

      2. illegal tyre testing?

    7. You would want as many teams as possible to be competitive, not reduce the number of competitive teams.

      Ferrari has had their competitive long streaks as well, yet nobody wanted them to stop racing even when they were at their best and winning their fifth straight title. People wanted somebody else to challenge them (and win, cos to see chang while Ferarri themselves were competitive and adding to the spectacle.

    8. Geez I really did not see this coming at all.

      If the only reason other teams win is because the current champions reliquish their throne, then it doesn’t bode well for engineering excellence. It should be that the other team takes that mantel because they improve in some way on what was.

    9. I am fed up watching Mercedes win everything and more. We need different winners through each and every year.

      I gotta love that you blame Merc for this (even putting aside your conspiracy nonsense and obvious anti-Hamilton vibe).

      One team did better than the others. Now you’re happy that the one that did the best job may be leaving, and we will be left with the teams which did not do as well.

      Would you also fire the guy at work who does the best job because he makes the rest of you look bad?

      In fact, let’s make the competition even better, and kick out any team or driver who wins more than their “share” of races. Force everyone to come out with the same number of points, coz it’s unfair if the best team or the best driver is able to win more than anyone else!

  7. Interesting.

    1. I would be interested in seeing the actual figures for the investment to buy and develop Brawn into its current excellence against the returns including for like promotional benefits of success. I would think it’s quite a respectable return as would be for the purchase of the innovative engine plant at Brixworth.

      I do wonder if the concern is global image with so many companies going bananas over being “green”. Formula E doesn’t have the taint of huge engines pushing out enormous amounts of pollution.

      Not really the case, of course, but F1 seems ashamed of its huge strides in fuel economy and emissions in its hybrid era. And that might be its downfall.

      1. Mercedes have spoken about that, towards the end of last season – they were specifically targeting this kind of silly story.

        Merc say their net spend is close to zero. Something like Hamilton’s salary away from breaking even. They haven’t had any real competition, so it hasn’t been a spending-race, so they’re managing with the revenues the team brings in plus a few terms of millions from the parent company.

        It’s an absolute no brainer for Merc. They spend more on advertising the F1 successes than they do in gaining them.

  8. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did leave and went back to being an engine supplier – after all with the success they’ve had the only way is down and I’d imagine staying at that level is not cheap. If they want to save money and tout their ‘green’ credentials spending billions in F1 isn’t a way to go.

    The Stroll/Wolff/Aston Martin takeover sounds interesting but doesn’t that leave Mercedes supplying too many engines? Williams, McLaren, RP & potentially Aston seems far too many.

    1. Yep, an engine supply would be an easy way to continue recouping their investment on the current crop of V6-hybrids. I’d expect them to probably quit outright the next time engine regs change significantly (e.g. not just deleting an MGU-x), especially given Merc’s presence in FE which is only likely to grow.

      doesn’t that leave Mercedes supplying too many engines? Williams, McLaren, RP & potentially Aston seems far too many.

      @rocketpanda – I’m not sure where I read it, but I vaguely recall that the Merc engines were proving to be too expensive for Williams. If that is correct, then with Renault down to just their works team after McLaren switch away, Renault might be amenable to supplying engines at a cheaper rate, if only to double the data they gather.

    2. @Rocketpanda

      The Stroll/Wolff/Aston Martin takeover sounds interesting but doesn’t that leave Mercedes supplying too many engines? Williams, McLaren, RP & potentially Aston seems far too many.

      They last supplied four teams in 2016: Themselves, Williams, Force India and Manor.

      1. I’m willing to read your take on the post of @asherway. It is excellent and you might give additional information considering that you’ve more access than commenters.

  9. Merc will make a decision based on their future plans for their RD cars. Also financially Daimler issued a profit warning just a few months ago due to several issues and sales are flat. So selling the F1 team and becoming an engine supplier may make financial sense and keep the Merc flag flying in F1.
    If Wolff and Stroll do make a deal to purchase the Merc team I would think Hamilton would jump on board. As it would be effectively be the same team with all of the knowledge experience and most if not all of the resources under a different name.

    1. Hamilton partnering Lance would be jokes – hope it happens

    2. Hamilton is a friend of the Stroll family; and Stroll senior is a very ambitious man. So I can see big $ going to Toto/Lewis to deliver him a world championship. And in the meantime chaps; whilst you are doing that, would you give my son a few pointers?

  10. Cristiano Ferreira
    29th January 2020, 12:33

    Hats off to Ferrari, because they are unsuccessful while having a budget similar, if not a little bigger than Mercedes, and yet they are still very loyal to F1. No wonder they get that bonus that everyone hates. At least they deserve it because they don’t come and go as they please like Mercedes, that only jumps in when the regulations in F1 suits them.

    Yes i know Ferrari bailed out of some races in the past (Enzo era) but that’s no longer the case.

    I don’t think Mercedes will stay in F1 past 2020, but i thought that McLaren was going to be their main team again with the new engine deal.

    1. That’s quite an interesting – albeit slightly one-sided – take on Ferrari and their unique bonus. I’d argue that the absence of any provision for any other team to work towards a similar bonus is why I will not fault them to choosing to quit F1 when they decide.

      Good point re. McLaren, at the time of their announcement I think many of us thought the same way. It would indeed be impressive for Mercedes’ marketing if Mercedes powers both boutique car makers.

      1. Just came through my mind that… maybe… they pay that bonus to Ferrari solely to be sure that the only team present in F1 since year1 will never take a break and then Liverty won’t have any team that was present continuously in F1 since 1950. So, it could be just for the image of F1: to have at least 1 team in the show since year1. And there’s just Ferrari that qualifies for that. Then, a smaller bonus would be more or less pocket change for a team like of this caliber. 100mil may be a lot to a small team, but not for a big team who spends ~350mil per year. So, they have to offer a sum to catch Ferrari’s attention, to keep them around. Agree that it would correct to offer this kind of bonus to every team, but more than sure they don’t have/want to spend another 200mil with the other teams just to make it fair OR the sum/percentage received won’t mean anything to Ferrari anymore if they split those 100mil to all teams. I mean, 15mil to Ferrari is almost nothing, let’s be honest. That’s why I think the target of this bonus seems to be just Ferrari from the get-go, and almost sure simply because they’re in F1 since year1, and the owner of F1 would like to advertise that he still has 1 team present in the show since the beginning. Otherwise, the bonus would have been split between all teams OR not even offered at all, because I don’t think the owner of F1 wants to upset 90% of the teams and making happy just 10% of the teams.

        1. @mg1982 – good point, that might be a likely reason.

        2. Or because Liberty inherited an existing contract….

    2. Cristiano Ferreira I don’t consider Mercedes to be a team that comes and goes as they please. They did two years in 54 and 55 and then returned to stay in 1994.

      1. … but until 2010 only as an engine supplier. Compared to Ferrari, that’s a little tooo thin.

        1. Merc are more than just an “engine supplier” since 94, they have heavily funded Sauber then McLaren, and jumpstarted the careers of Schumacher and Hamilton and others.

        2. @mg1982 No team compares to Ferrari but it is still unfair to claim Mercedes has come and gone as the regulations have or have not suited them.

          1. By responding to you, I was actually… indirectly… agreeing with Cristiano Ferreira that Ferrari was loyal to F1 and deserve at least some credit for that, and all those years mentioned by you for Mercedes are not enough to claim a bonus like that.

          2. So, I wasn’t bashing Mercedes’ commitment to F1, just tried to say I don’t think they qualify for that bonus.

        3. @mg1982

          Merc have given alot to F1, and ate reaping the rewards.

          Ferrari have given alot to F1 and have taken been given alot of money in return. The bonus that Ferrari receives is not because they have been in the sport for so long, they receive a bonus because bernie realized that if he bribed Ferrari into signing the concord the other teams would fall in line because a breakaway series would fail without Ferrari. This happened while Ferrari were part of Fota and they had an agreement to collectively bargain with Bernie. Ferrari sold out the other teams for a payoff, nothing at all to be proud of.

      2. And let’s not forget, they dropped out of *all* motorsport for 1956, after the disaster at Le Mans.

    3. Ferrari needs F1 to function. Mercedes doesn’t.

      Take away the Ferrari bonus and they will still stay. Its a big part of their branding.

  11. Finally Tesla is having an impact and old car companies who did not want to change – now have to! Unfortunate that motorsport will lose in the process, but it is inevitable. Next 10 years will see a lot of change happening. Budget cap could help and fortunately we have private teams like McLaren, Williams, Racing Point… There is no point in spending 500 million a year

    1. I wonder if Mercedes is considering the complicated issues associated with Brexit on the future operations of the team. True, the power unit and chassis are built in England but the money and business ties are between Daimler and the British based teams. Just a thought….

    2. Who is spending 500 million a year? Neither merc or Ferrari are and they subsidize the PUs for 30% of the grid each.

      1. My understanding was the majority of the Mercedes F1 budget was from sponsors and prize money, and that the market exposure Mercedes gets out of F1 is something like 10:1 return-on-investment.

        So I’m not sure that it’s going to be “just about money”.

  12. I think we have to wait what the board is going to say. Rumours (from people who should know these things) say they will atleast contine to 2025 but the layoff could knock some years of that 2025.
    Lewis is looking for a deal till 2022 so i expect end 2022 season we know if the are coming back or get sold.

    1. They have to decide whether or not to sign the new Concord agreement for 2021 and that is typically a 10 year contract, so it would be a large commitment, not a small decision to only join until 2025.

      1. Indeed but i am talking about selling Mercedes F1 to a new owner (all those rumours running around) but keep supplying engines to the new team and the others. Signing the new Concord is then a no problem the new owner would take that over.

  13. I think the team in Brackley would be well-off even if they’d lost the support from the factory and the ownership had changed, it’s a solid and well-oiled machine. They would probably have to scale down a little bit but I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t be a solid prospect all the way into 2022 even if the Mercedes had technically pulled out. From a long-term perspective, they would lose a lot of their exclusivity but in the light of recent talk about Stroll and Aston Martin taking over, anything can change.

  14. I’m nor really surprised that Mercedes corporate is under pressure to abandon F1, especially given the magnitude of their layoffs.

    It will boil down to simple maths. Is their investment in F1 getting them equal value in sales. Or more particularly, would sales be impacted by their leaving F1. The sale price of the team may also have some bearing – I doubt that Stroll/Wolff have deep enough pockets to effectively buy it out without attracting another investor from somewhere.

    I also suspect that there will be similar meetings in similar board rooms this year.

    The most likely candidate I believe would be Red Bull. At some point the owner might just decide that it’s not worth the money.

    Let’s also not forget that Renault has a number of corporate woes so I’d not necessarily see them being super positive about staying either.

    It will be interesting to see what incentives Liberty may have to offer up to hold the competition together.

    1. @dbradock I’m not sure what more incentives Liberty needs to offer than to have re-organized F1, including making it more affordable in which to compete.

      Of course I could not possibly know all the aspects the big entities such as Mercedes are considering, but it can’t but have helped from F1’s side that they are tackling so many issues, and they are also playing in the relevant hybrid era such that the Mercedes’ of the world can justify being in F1 that way, from the environmental research side.

      As to Stroll/Wolff, let’s not forget Lawrence is a billionaire and he has a group of like individuals with him, and Toto is from what I gather at least half a billionaire himself. If they needed more outside investors than that, I’m sure they could find them and those ones wouldn’t need to bring but a minority of the investment funds.

      Not sure why you think Red Bull might decide it is not worth the money, again, given that it is about to start costing less to compete, that they seem to be on an ascendance, and they’re less subject to the changing auto industry, as a ‘fizzy drinks’ company.

      Renault, ya I can see them looking themselves in the mirror from the corporate side, but then I think they just did that in the last few years and decided to bolster the team’s resources, become a works team, and take on DR.

      F1 shall be very very interesting in the next few years, and I would be surprised if teams such as Mercedes don’t at least give the new chapter a try, or at least I believe they’ll be there either as Mercedes as they are, or as a rebranded bought out team that picks up where Mercedes left off, or at least as a power unit supplier.

      1. @robbie, a team such as Red Bull could easily decide that, if the potential marketing value of the sport were to decline, it would not be in their interests to continue competing even if the cap comes in.

        It’s a question of whether they are going to continue to get the same return on investment that they have in the past, and that balance could start shifting into less favourable territory if F1 started to lose prestige due to a shrinking grid and a loss of support.

        Whilst you note that Renault might have bolstered the teams resources, the new CEO of Renault, Clotilde Delbos, again talked about rewriting the strategic plans for Renault late last year. The increased strain in the Renault-Nissan alliance is causing more problems, with Nissan in particular trouble – 12,500 job cuts and cutting production at 14 sites was already announced, but now they need to cut another 4,300 jobs on top of that, plus potentially closing down two plants permanently (rather than just reducing production).

        Renault, too, is not looking healthy – they missed their sales figures, with sales declining by about 4% last year, and their profit margin shrank from 6% to 5% as well. Renault is also looking for ways to cut costs as they need to invest more in electric car development, to the point where there are rumours that Delbos may reopen talks with FCA over organising some sort of merger. The same problems that Mercedes is facing are also biting Renault fairly hard, and with Renault’s team having missed their targets for 2019, not to mention the loss of McLaren as a customer, it might become rather less attractive to compete in F1.

        1. @anon Yeah a lot of ifs, ands, and buts here so who knows. I certainly don’t see Red Bull leaving, and I would think the coming caps in F1 would have teams including that reality as they have their discussions about the future.

  15. Mercedes hardly spend any money on f1 (net) which the article alludes to, then ignores. They have form in withdrawing when winning everything and although you can never rule anything out i’d say the chances are minimal in the extreme.

  16. Why is nobody talking about the very real prospect of Lance Stroll landing in what will amount to the W12… if Hamilton goes to Ferrari and leaves a seat open at a Lawrence Stroll-backed team, who do you think is going to take that championship-contending seat. Or, say Hamilton stays, Bottas will get Ocon’d quicker than Ocon got Ocon’d

    1. @btcamp Because for now it is not ‘very real’ it is pure speculation.

    2. @btcamp – why would someone voluntarily think up such nightmare fuel? ;)

      1. @btcamp for some reason I actually wouldn’t mind seeing that, it’d be funny, the sheer arrogance of him and his father to actually do it, and we can at least assure ourselves there would be someone else in the other car.

  17. Now that would be interesting indeed. StrollMotion takes over the works under the Aston badge which would leave Force India Point Racing as the “B” team which is a model that has worked well for some other team(s). It would give a boost to RP and hopefully push them a little farther up the grid for a better points money ROI while maintaining the Merc Management juggernaut at the sharp end if Toto stays on. What I am wondering here is two things. What happened to Lauda’s shares? Would Merc walk away from what has been touted as an over 3 billion dollar advertising boost derived from their F1 presence internationally? The parent company actually puts a very small investment into the team these days.

  18. Where is George Russel and his PowerPoint presentation? Get him to that board meeting!

  19. It doesn’t look great when the team dominating F1 don’t compete anymore because it’s not cost effective for them.. how does that make F1 look like a worthwhile endeavour to anyone else interested in taking part?

    If they leave I truly hope it means Hamilton to Ferrari when the new cars come in. That would be epic to see. If Ferrari can’t win with Hamilton then they really need to sort themselves out.

  20. Join IndyCar like Mclaren, but become an engine supplier. Spend a fraction of the F1 budget and increase promotion in their biggest market. Ferrari should too.

  21. Ok the date of the meeting was not known, but the situation most certainly was. In fact I commented upon it but got no reaction at the time.

    I follow ANE (Automotive News Europe) as I was in the Automotive oem supply business before retirement. This situation was news headlined a few weeks back.
    If you have an RSS reader add this:

    You may care to look at the Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi debacle and the Fiat-Chrysler-PSA situations too.

  22. I would very much like Mercedes to show these “geniuses” from Liberty the big Middle finger and quit!

    But I totally don’t see Mercedes wishing tp sell its heritage to some Aston Martin brand… can’t see this happening.

    Anyway, looks like my prediction that 2020 is the last year of proper F1 gains another pro- point. Let’s see how ot ends.

    1. @dallein Still going on with your doom and gloom I see. Since you’re obviously smarter than Liberty, what would you have done to address F1’s many issues? If you’d like to see Mercedes quit, then that means you’d like to see F1 in a tail spin, with one team gone and others scrambling for engines. Why? Are you not a fan? Do you have something against F1? Or did you just love the BE era that much? You like watching cars handcuffed in dirty air needing a gadget for passing?

      I say it is time we get on to some proper F1 come 2021. It can’t come soon enough.

  23. Who did not see this coming years ago? lol I always knew they would leave once there chance of dominating was threatened. They got in early with an advantage regarding the hybrid engine era. Yea they did. A clear advantage. The whole thing was a sham from the start. Goodbye Mercedes. Hopefully once they are gone we can return to a series where one team does not dominate for years and years. Or if they do it is on true merit. Redbull’s success was far more legit to me. Mercedes dominance has been some what hollow to say the least. This made my day. I hope they stay though. I really do.

  24. i’ve stated this for some time. as we all saw, merc made the championship close last year not any of their rivals. as they will this year too. nobody is on the same level with them. very similar to how their late 70’s roadcars were so far ahead of anyone else. as then, they’ll choose to scale back & book profits instead. it’s been their pattern over & over again. bet on it.

  25. Does anyone know who bought Lauda’s share of the company. Or is it still in the family?

      1. Thanks for that.

  26. Honestly, i think that was expected. I wonder if that’s why McLaren decided to go with Mercedes in 2021. hmm…

  27. I don’t get why they would quit when the cost cap would limit their spendings so they do it a bit cheaper. They still have the best package, and the new rules mainly aero rules, the drivetrain and a lot of things remain unchanged. So why to quit instead of giving it a cheap shot if they still in the best position? Anyone can get lucky. And if that not works then it’s reasonable to quit. So quitting at the top is maybe an outside-F1-decision, with pure buisness motivations. Probably they have spent enough for this pricy advert of themselves. Or the development of their 2021 car is struggling for some reason?

    1. Additionally, what if they are bad at the new formula? Imo car sales is not affected by F1 results too much. Anyway if i’d have some money to burn i’d buy a Ferrari Mondial, just to have one, or a BMW, a VFTS, and of course the Pea Car, or a Hoffmann 1951.

  28. As ever, Mercs future depends on whether Hamilton will resign or not. If merc was a real f1 team I would be sad to miss them, as they are not I would appreciate that someone could again take over the Brackley team. For the sake of f1 the sport requires real teams not fake manufacturers.

    1. What the hell is a fake manufacturer when it’s at home?

      Lotus (Genii)?

      Seriously!? 🤦‍♂️

    2. Yes because Mercedes have no pedigree in motorsport or history of engineering excellence do they? Usual @peartree nonsense, how much pontless waffle do you have in reserve havent you run out yet?

  29. With a cost cap coming in to try and increase the competitiveness of the sport, why would they stay? A future F1 isn’t manufacturer vs manufacturer, it’s team vs team selecting a PU from what’s available. Renault must surely be thinking the same. Oh and then there’s Ferrari, who’ll find something to complain about/reshuffle their management for and stuck around just because.

    Mercedes will remain a PU supplier as it’s just good business, especially as they’ll effectively be reaping what they’ve sown and making money from sunk cost.

    Leave the running of an F1 team to the billionaires and racers. I quite like the idea of a financially sound racers grid without manufacturers.

  30. Agris Rūmītis
    29th January 2020, 21:46

    but they can simply set up whatever-racing ltd with 175 cap and keep building and supply pus for it as ”outside” pu manfacturer. not a big deal. and keep all the people they want

  31. F1, please don’t let Stroll & Sons buy their way into the championship team

  32. Huge breaking story. Nice job with that.

    I would be happy to see Mercedes go, their domination makes the sport less interesting. And why wouldn’t they when everything has been achieved.

    Makes Verstappen early long term signing for Red Bull seem logical. Maybe he knew which way the wind was blowing at Mercedes.

    1. @balue, and if Mercedes withdrawing from F1 just resulted in a different team dominating, then you’d end up with exactly the same complaint that you do now.

      1. It was boring when Ferrari were dominating, but Mercedes’ record 6 years in a row 1-2 domination will likely never be repeated. It’s not that you know before the season start which team and 2 drivers will be on top, you know it for the coming years as well, and that takes the excitement out of it.

        Ferrari and Red Bull would be much closer. Could you call it for next year?

  33. Makes Verstappen early long term signing for Red Bull seem logical. Maybe he knew which way the wind was blowing at Mercedes.

    How would he have that sort of insight, exactly?

    1. I don’t think we have to say this but just look from this view:
      Jos and Toto and their wives during normal evening dinner when friends just meet…

      So now why do you think Max sign with Red Bull? (ofcourse Red Bull do very good job to keep Max happy with assistance of honda)

  34. This has ALL been debunked by Kaellenius himself

  35. Oh, stop it, Racefans, you’re better than this.

    “The company has spent billions on its F1 programme since reviving its factory F1 team 10 years ago.”

    Spending, in the sense of total outflows, yes. Net spend, absolutely not.

    Mercedes have even spoken specifically about the net spend, in this exact context. Their annual net spend is a few tens of millions. The total net spend over a decade is in the low hundreds of millions, if that high.

    Mercedes spend hundreds of millions a year on marketing, and F1 makes up a very small percentage. They’ve had an unbelievably good return from that portion, and they’d have to be quite, quite mad to stop.

  36. I’ve been saying this for a long time. A brand enters a sport to promote is brand, not to win. Winning is usually the best way to promote a brand, but not always the best one.

    Winning competitions while reducing the interest of the public to the sport is in fact worst for the brand. What promotes more a brand? Being in a tight fight for the title with a final race decider with 2000 million viewers and loosing it? Or winning almost all the races and settling officially the title 3 races to go having it almost settled mid-season generating races with less than a quarter of the viewers?

    1. You the expert you tell us ?

  37. Why don’t Mercedes just spend less? This would go hand in hand with the new cost cap anyway! …..Ah nothing is ever that simple in Formula One

  38. Not_LawrenceOfArabia
    31st January 2020, 10:30

    The Saudi Investment Fund will buy Mercedes F1, rename it to Racing Saudia, and pay Lewis some astonishing money to continue racing for the team.
    Watch that space.

  39. “Last year it announced a shortfall in profits of several billion pounds and a plan to lay off over 10,000 staff.” Really? I see Mercs everywhere. Maybe they should push for a budget cap!! :-p

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