Mercedes Ineos branding presentation, Royal Automobile Club, 2020

Wolff wants to make it a “no brainer” for Mercedes to stay in F1

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he wants to make it a “no brainer” for the team to extend its commitment to compete in Formula 1.

The world champions’ current commercial agreement expires at the end of the 2020 F1 season.

The sport’s owners Liberty Media will introduce a budget cap next year to reduce the spending by top teams such as Mercedes. The team has also made two significant additions to its sponsor portfolio over the winter, AMD and Ineos, the latter announced in an event in London today.

Wolff said his target is to make participating in F1 a profitable activity for the team. “We want to make it a no-brainer from the sheer numbers,” he said. “The return on investment on marketing, should be, will be, the icing on the cake. But the Formula 1 activity will be a profitable exercise like it should be.

“We see that in the American sports leagues that most of them in 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 company so that from a Mercedes standpoint this becomes a no-brainer to participate.”

He pointed out Mercedes owner Daimler’s board chairman Ola Kallenius had previously said it was “not true” they are already planning to leave. Wolff said he hopes to reach an agreement over the team’s future commitment to the sport before the start of next season.

“It’s an ongoing process and it’s a complicated set of contracts: A trilateral contract between the FIA, the commercial rights and all teams. That needs time and the devil lies in the detail.

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“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 and it’s a working 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.”

Mercedes Ineos branding, Royal Automobile Club, 2020
Mercedes presented its new Ineos branding today
Mercedes’ decision will have a bearing on the futures of star driver Lewis Hamilton, whose contract also expires at the end of this year, and Wolff, who is a shareholder in the team. Wolff said the deal with Ineos, the petrochemical group run by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, formed part of a long-term strategy for its future.

“My role is is different to all the other team principals,” said Wolff. “I’m a partner in the team, I’m the managing partner of the team, we have a joint venture with Daimler. And honestly I have to pinch myself everyday to have the opportunity to be in that situation. So it’s very different.

“But we are planning our long-term strategy together with Daimler. Jim and his partners coming in is yet another building block. So all sails are set for a successful future.

“But like with Lewis we’re in the middle of discussions and tweaking here and there and I wouldn’t really want to live comment when things are going to be signed because if I give a date, then you’re going to ask me all the time.”

Wolff believes the sport remains an excellent platform for Mercedes to promote itself. “Formula 1 is the Halo platform for hybrid engineering,” he said, “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 all the things that are out in the media, we like the platform. But at the same time, we’re in the 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 Formula 1.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Wolff wants to make it a “no brainer” for Mercedes to stay in F1”

  1. If they manage to take 2020 titles, it should be more than enough to convince the management.

  2. Wolff wants to make it a no-brainer…I think it already is.

  3. I like Mercedes and want them to stay in the series, but I don’t see that they have much to gain by continuing on. There is no guarantee that they will keep winning or stay at the top of the field. They have a lot to lose by staying in PR if things start to go badly. Especially if they have to start laying off large numbers of people from other divisions.

  4. Pretty strong statement from Toto here:

    Toto Wolff plays down ‘nonsense’ rumours of Mercedes F1 exit

    But Wolff hit out at that report and 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.”

  5. Wolff said his target is to make participating in F1 a profitable activity for the team. “We want to make it a no-brainer from the sheer numbers,” he said. “The return on investment on marketing, should be, will be, the icing on the cake. But the Formula 1 activity will be a profitable exercise like it should be.

    I think this is the key statement, I think at the moment it costs Daimler around *$30 million to run the team after operational costs and profits from engine sales sponsorship and payments from F1. Which is not a lot in advertising or F1 racing terms, especially taking the success they have had into account.
    But with Daimlers profits and sales being flat and looking to stay that way for a little while and the amount of money and resources that need to be committed to alternate power units to meet future regulations, Hybrids EVs and Hydrogen. I’d say the profitability of the F1 team would be a prerequisite.
    *I seen that figure earlier this yr but I can’t remember where.

  6. Spoken like a salesman. And a salesman he is. After all if merc pulled out chances are it wouldn’t make as much money for toto as staying. Is he selling the idea of f1 team being profitable for mercedes or his f1 team being profitable for mercedes? Surely being a 30% owner you want your business partner to stay regardless of what happens. It is “a no-brainer” for him for sure…

  7. No-brainier right now. But when they stop winning and drop down to 3-4 wins per year, then it will be investigated heavily.

    Commercially initial championship wins were a massive benefit for Mercedes, but now every win is probably insignificant from marketing standpoint, nobody is really surprised Mercedes is good at F1.

    When they signed Schumacher that was a huge spike, then when they won first WDC and WCC with Lewis that was worth 2 billion in marketing they said.

    Now I am certain that number is much smaller, but I would not be surprised that number is somewhat greater than their actual investment in the team.

    If they can get the team to be close to neutral with all the sponsorships, reduction in costs then that is great. And a must have the moment they stop winning.

    But when that eventually happens it might be beneficial for them, because right now they are the villain ruining the sport with their dominance. Once costs get lowered and they stop winning all the time, they should be in a good position, best thing that could happen is them beating a dominant Ferrari, that would make some news.

    Or signing Max Verstappen, whatever comes first.

  8. Lay off 15,000 worker so you can pay $55 million to one mediocre driver who just wins because he has a good car makes a lot of economic and business sense………

  9. What a complete load of waffle. lol Where were Mercedes before the new engine regulations came in? They were not winning championships. Enough said. Goodbye Mercedes.

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