Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2020

F1 budget cap ‘may’ lead Mercedes to expand into other series

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff indicated there is a chance the team could look at racing in other series alongside its Formula 1 and Formula E projects in the future.

However he said the team is looking at other ways to deploy the resources and staff which may have to move out of its F1 programme due to the coming budget cap.

“We are living in a financial reality that is very different to pre-Covid,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “We have accepted the lower budget cap because it is a must that successful Formula 1 franchises actually earn money rather than lose money.

“For us it is also a way of making sure that [Mercedes owner] Daimler not only appreciates the sporting and marketing benefit of the platform, but also to make it as cost-neutral as possible. And I believe this is why we just need to support such a cost cap.

“For us it means readjusting, it means changing the way we do things and deploy personnel in new areas. We have a very strong department that is called Mercedes-Benz Applied Science where we work for high performance clients and deploy our services.

“And who knows, maybe we will look at other race categories in order to keep the human resource and intellectual property within Mercedes.”

As well as its hugely successful Formula 1 team, Mercedes is competing in its first season of Formula E, having pulled out of the DTM at the end of 2018.

Wolff is considering his future in charge of Mercedes’ F1 programme, and is in discussions with Daimler board chairman Ola Kallenius about his next steps.

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“Something I’m really proud of in our team is that we have always transitioned senior members of the team into different roles,” said Wolff. “We have brought up talent and the same applies to me.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be at the helm of Mercedes since early 2014 and with years that I wouldn’t want to miss. I really enjoy the interaction and working with all of my friends at the Formula 1 team and at Daimler and this is something I wouldn’t want to miss.

“Nevertheless I need to question myself. I don’t want to become a team principal that goes from great to good without realising that he’s maybe not bringing, not adding as much any more to the team as he did in the beginning. I still feel that I can add a lot.

“But of course, I am contemplating about my future. I am in discussion with Ola about how that goes. It is not a simple employment contract, but it involves a shareholding. And we are in the midst of the process in carving our joint future.

“Therefore I don’t want to stick to some particular wording, whether that’s ‘team principal’ or ‘managing director’, that plays no role. And to be honest with you I haven’t taken any decision yet because we haven’t even started racing. So all these agreements and discussions are happening as we speak.”

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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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20 comments on “F1 budget cap ‘may’ lead Mercedes to expand into other series”

  1. How about Mercedes Benz in WRC ? or NASCAR ?

    1. Or Indycar.

    2. Or DTM…

  2. Mercedes Aerospace back to Le Mans?

    1. @zomtec lol this comment is gold

  3. Oh no, what a pity! Lol.
    Good. Although they probably won’t go back to DTM, as it’ll be dead and buried by then.

    1. Oh no, what a pity! Lol

      What an odd thing to say

  4. We’ve had Formula Ford and Formula Renault amongst other single make formulae which have brought many young drivers to affordable racing, so why shouldn’t Mercedes start their own Formula Merc – a low price series for youngsters? Put something good back into the sport…

    1. @mrfill isn’t that role already fulfilled by Formula 4, which is now the most widespread low cost entry level motorsport series? What purpose would a hypothetical “Formula Mercedes” offer when established low cost entry series such as the ADAC Formula 4 or Italian Formula 4 series exist?

      1. and there is still Formula Ford FF1600 and Formula Renault which also fulfil the role. But having another series is not a bad thing surely? Any chance a youngster has to progress is good or should Formula 4 be the only route? I don’t think so.

        1. @mrfill whilst you say “having another series is not a bad thing surely”, it isn’t necessarily any use to anybody if there isn’t really a clear idea of the purpose of that series existing and when there may be other series that arguably do a better job of fulfilling a particular niche?

          Adding another series doesn’t necessarily make things better, because you could end up with the sort of problem that Formula BMW or Formula Audi had – that, if anything, there were too many series at that level that were competing for drivers. Over time, you had the problem that a number of those series ended up with not enough drivers competing in them to make the series economically viable, resulting in a number of those series eventually closing down due to a lack of demand.

          One of the main strengths of Formula 4 is the fact that, because of the commonality of the chassis, ancillary components and engines that can be used across multiple series, costs can be brought downwards due to being able to achieve economies of scale in production. I am not sure that any equivalent “Formula Mercedes” would manage that sort of economy of scale, so I’m struggling to see why it would be that much cheaper for a driver to compete in that series as opposed to alternatives like Formula 4 or Formula Renault.

          It’s all well and good to say “the more the merrier”, but what exactly is this series meant to lead onto? What is this series meant to offer that would make a driver decide that it’s worth doing that instead of another series, such as Formula Renault or Formula 4, and how exactly is it meant to help develop a driver’s career?

  5. Reading between the lines Daimler under a new CEO was viewing its F1 program too costly.

    About Wolff’s own ‘transitioning into different roles’, and talk of shareholding, what is the position that he actually wants? Non-executive chairman like Lauda? Knowing Wolff it’s surely something even more than that.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      6th June 2020, 21:48

      @balue With the budget cap it’s hardly too costly anymore. They could potentially make money off their F1 programma.

      1. @f1osaurus As is the point of Wolff’s comment and why I used the past tense ‘was’.

        Explains why Mercedes/Daimler was willing to give up their advantage without a fight, but also interesting comments how it’s in their interest that ‘franchises’ do well, which surely could only mean the new Aston Martin team, the one Wolff is personally invested in.

  6. Yes. This is what should happen. Mercedes, Ferrari, RedBull should all tackle Le Mans, Indy, etc.

    With their GT lineup, things should be great.

  7. I can already imagine this. formula E team asking daimler where do these 1.6 engines invoices come from. Company cars, probably.

  8. It seems Mercedes insists on spending all that money they aren’t allowed to spend on F1. I guess money translates to jobs which they are reluctant to cut. Good for them. The question now is where will they find the drivers? They probably find a failng team and turn it around, like they did in F1.

  9. MotoGP, pity they parted ways with MV Augusta.

  10. The reaction to this is remarkably different to when Ferrari mentioned the same thing

  11. Wow when Ferrari say the same thing “They’re threatening to leave F1 like they did before”
    When Mercedes do it “It’s to reduce the number of staff that have to lose their jobs”

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