Formula 1 reacted swiftly after Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff broke his silence over negotiations on a new commercial deal for the sport.
Wolff said Mercedes is “happy with a more equitable split of the prize fund” and “the way success is rewarded and possible for everybody.”
However he believes Mercedes stand to lose more commercially from the new deal than Ferrari, who will keep some of their long-standing privileges to a reduced extent, and Red Bull.
“We are, I would say, the biggest victim in terms of prize fund loss in all of that,” said Wolff. “Ferrari has maintained its advantageous position,. For Red Bull it obviously balances out with Toro Rosso. So it’s us that are hurt the most.”
While Mercedes has not yet agreed terms with Lewis Hamilton for next year, he appears unlikely to join another team. Wolff pointed out that increases the value of Mercedes to the sport.
“I feel that Mercedes has contributed to the sport over the last years,” he said. “Apart from being competitive on track, we have the driver that has clearly the most global appeal.
“And we feel that whilst being in those negotiations we weren’t treated in the way we should have been. Therefore, there is a bunch of open topics for us that are legal, commercial and sporting and in our point of view, I don’t feel ready to sign a Concorde Agreement.”
However many of Mercedes’ rivals have indicated they are ready to sign. Shortly after Wolff spoke, F1 issued a statement insisting it will not delay an agreement any further.
“Formula 1 has engaged with all teams in a collaborative and constructive way and listened to all their views,” it said. “This agreement is important for the future of the sport and all our fans. We are moving forward with this and will not be delayed any longer.”
Asked how far from a deal Mercedes and F1 are, Wolff said: “It depends on the other side.
“If you’re willing to sit [at] the table, address the critical topics, discuss them, come to maybe compromise outcome, then I think it can go pretty fast. But I haven’t seen that approach.”
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