Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

Wolff rejects “made up” report Mercedes team will be sold to Ineos

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has rejected a report claiming the Formula 1 team will be sold to sponsor Ineos.

The petrochemicals manufacturer became a Mercedes sponsor at the beginning of 2020. The companies collaborate on projects outside Formula 1 through Mercedes-Benz Applied Science.

However Wolff said claims the relationship between the two will lead to the team’s takeover by Ineos are incorrect.

“People pick up bits and pieces and construct the story around it,” he said. “We have a magnificent relationship with Ineos. We work together on several high-tech projects around the America’s Cup and the cycling team. And the partnership is very complementary.

“We have the same ambitions with our sports teams. And that’s why Ineos is a partner of ours. Beyond that, everything is just speculation.

“Daimler has no intent in giving up the team, and Ineos has no interest in buying a majority of the team and calling it like this and I have no reason to depart from my shareholding. So plenty of things that are made up.”

Wolff insisted “the future of the team is absolutely clear: It’s the Mercedes Petronas AMG team and nothing is going to change that.”

While Mercedes has confirmed its commitment to remain in Formula 1 beyond the end of this season, both Wolff and star driver Lewis Hamilton are yet to announce their plans for next year. According to Wolff, now that an intense spell of nine races in 11 weeks has concluded, the pair will soon find time to agree terms for Hamilton to drive for the team next year.

“In terms of Lewis, the wider discussions why we never find the time for the discussions between Lewis and myself is because we simply had three triple-headers one after the other and now it’s just about sitting down and hammering it out,” he said.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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33 comments on “Wolff rejects “made up” report Mercedes team will be sold to Ineos”

  1. I heard this a while ago as rumour but lately it gets much stronger so there is something going to happen that i am sure about.

    1. A burgundy car @macleod? Interesting. Given the public source I have to be sceptical, but maybe a stepwise increase of one shareholder over Mercedes would be a way for them to not abruptly abandon the sport, while reducing their involvement over time?

      1. I think the Mirror brought something today but you can hear things around the paddock and meetings and those rumours are normal not wrong (but mostly not 100% correct) so that is why i said something going to happen with Mercedes.
        Lewis didn’t sign because of something is going to change he is waiting.

        1. @macleod no offence, but the last time that Hamilton renegotiated his contract, you were throwing around similar claims right up until the point that he extended his contract with Mercedes.

          Similarly, it has been pointed out that Eddie Jordan, who has supposedly been the source of this rumour, has been a bit wide of the mark in more recent years.

          After all, not that many months ago, Jordan was adamantly insisting that Hamilton would be going to Ferrari in 2021 – right up until the point that they signed Carlos Sainz Jr instead.

          It’s also not the first time that Jordan has been adamant that Mercedes were going to pull out of Formula 1 either, or made predictions about Mercedes that were inaccurate.

          There was his insistence in 2017 that Petronas was going to be cancelling their contract with Mercedes at the end of that season – shortly before Petronas announced that they had agreed a three year contract extension with Mercedes. Similarly, he was also expecting UBS to pull its sponsorship – only for UBS to also extend their contract with Mercedes too.

          He was also predicting, with much the same level of confidence, that Mercedes were going to leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2018 season – funnily enough, Mercedes are still here.

          Similarly, his predictions about McLaren switching to Mercedes engines for 2018 ended up being wrong, and the predictions he’d made a few years earlier about Volkswagen buying the Red Bull team in 2015 also ended up being wrong as well.

          That’s at least five fairly prominent predictions that Eddie Jordan has made in recent years that have ended up being wrong – his predictions at the start of the 2010s were reasonable, but over the past five years his accuracy has been declining, reflecting the increased amount of time he has spent out of the sport. If his more recent record is anything to go by, he’s probably going to be predicting Mercedes will pull out right up to the point that they announce a new long term commitment to the sport…

          1. Did i said something about years ago? Seems my memory leave me here but i remember Jordan and his claims and that he said was mostly wrong (before this he was mostly right) about Lewis (Jordan is a bit of McLaren and Lewis fan and wished those two kept together) but that was his switch to Mercedes in 2014.

          2. @macleod basically, you were making similar comments speculating that, because Hamilton was taking some time to negotiate his contract, that “something must be about to change”. It’s often the case with multiple drivers negotiating contracts – to be honest, there seems to be an awful lot more speculation over changes that rarely do happen.

            As for Eddie Jordan, as I’ve said, I’m rather dubious given that there has been a rather marked decline in his accuracy in recent years – he might have been more accurate the best part of 6, 7 or 8 years ago, but when his more recent predictions about Hamilton and about Mercedes have, like a number of his other more recent predictions, been wrong, I’m less inclined to believe him because I don’t believe that his past successes outweigh his more recent errors.

      2. I think that Mercedes is going to sell shares but not the team. Toto is looking for cashing his shares and want to do something else. Lewis probaly is going to resign but i don’t know why he is waiting for so long. You can hear he want to keep the team the same as much possible but is this something he moves unlikely he would quit before moving to a other team at this moment.

        1. aweful english lines i hope you get the idea….

  2. Does make sense for them to buy it so there will be at least one British owned team in the grid.

    1. By a Monaco-based non-domiciled Brit you mean?

    2. Does it really matter which Tycoons own the teams when most of the jobs and engineering involved in F1 are based in the English home counties?

  3. Assuming there’s anything in the story, what makes most sense to me in the short term would be Ineos (or rather, Ratcliffe) buying Wolff’s shareholding, if he was departing for pastures new. Or even if he wasn’t going just yet.

    Then further down the line, it may become a full buy-out if Mercedes decide they’ve had enough.

  4. The Mercedes had a great start and have great money and resources to stay ahead during hybrid era. But the world is changing and the shift to stay away from ICE is only getting stronger. I can see Mercedes happily said goodbye than having to compete on strict resource restriction with product that would soon became outdated. Tesla only had 10% VAG R&D budget but leading the EV because there’s so much less power unit component to think about compare to ICE, let alone hybrid. Every smart car manufacture CEO can see that.

    1. I can agree that “the shift to stay away from ICE is only getting stronger” That shift is real. However, the shift is artificial with the aim to save global economy by introducing new technologies which in turn drive the economy forwards. It’s a late call doomed to fail mate. Who is going to buy these cars worth around 100k, 1% of wealthy on the planet? They are going to save it? I don’t think so.

      1. Technology filters its way down over time.

        Innovative tech on Mercedes’ S Class has, over the years, found its way onto everyday family hatchbacks a few years later.

  5. Right now Mercedes is probably the most profitable team for their owner. Why would they sell it? And if they did imagine the price. It must be around 1-2 billion mark. But again Mercedes has such good brand recognition now.

    It would make sense for Wolff to sell his stock in Mercedes team however. Right now they must be at peak value.

    Certainly any financial or form downturn will only reduce price.

    1. Because F1 is dying and prize distrubution will be fairer in future which is bad for Mercedes. No brainer to sell.

  6. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    14th September 2020, 9:00

    With the new 200m buy-in, I can see some aspirant teams be more interested into taking over an existing equipe rather than build one from scratch. Taking over Mercedes seems like a long shot (and an expensive one), but I can see it happen somewhere down the line.

    Mercedes could move over to only be an engine supplier (whether that is because they move over to Formula E because ‘muh environment’ or some other reason) and simply sell off their chassis-factory and keep the engine one. The counter argument used whenever someone talks about ‘the sale of Mercedes’ is always ‘yeah but no company can cough up enough for everything’, which can be removed alltogether by only focussing on 1 part.

    New concorde agreement isn’t a guarantee either, as Honda is only committed till the end of next year, even though ‘everyone signed’.

    1. Well, stroll can afford it to try and make his son win a title, obviously will depend on the other driver.

  7. “In terms of Lewis, the wider discussions why we never find the time for the discussions between Lewis and myself is because we simply had three triple-headers one after the other and now it’s just about sitting down and hammering it out,”

    I thought it was because Lewis wasn’t comfortable negotiating a new contract given the current global circumstances with lots of people losing their jobs?


    1. Bets are on what the excuse will be next month ;)

  8. I think we can take Toto at his word. He’s always 100% truthful and honest (like all F1 team bosses).

  9. I was initially a bit perturbed to read this news, but then I came across

    according to former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan

    and knew I could relax…

    What happened to Eddie’s ‘news’ that Petronas was on the brink of withdrawing all their sponsorship? He just likes stirring up trouble for Mercedes.

    1. As much as everyone’s favourite wiggerer talks a lot of nonsense he was right about Schumacher’s come back (everyone scoffed at the time), he’s been right about a few things. But I guess a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

      1. He was right about the stuff that Bernie wanted him to leak (allegedly). Now that Bernie is out of the picture, I wonder who is paying to try to destabilise Mercedes? They’re a bit late if they’re expecting it to happen this season (or next).

    2. @Charleski I know he says a lot of weird stuff, but you shouldn’t bash it. It was him that had the scoop on the Schumacher return remember. No one believed it then either.

      1. @balue as I have pointed out earlier though, whilst his accuracy was reasonably good in the early part of the 2010s, over the past 5 years his accuracy has been far lower. How many predictions has he made since 2016 that have been correct, and how many have proven to be wrong?

  10. Eddie and Toto have barely told us a factual truth in half a decade.

  11. So that means Ineos has bought the team or at least a majority part of it.
    In F1 most of the time a denial like that means it will or has already happened.

  12. Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 Team. Period.

  13. Speaking of the America,s cup, look at what happened to long term partner Range Rover when Sir Ben Ainsley took a whiff of Radcliff money : Uhmm uhmm, nice fat gaseous pounds! Frack Range Rover!! :)

  14. There have been comments by both Kallenius and Wolff that wasn’t entirely consistent with definite continuation, and also how Mercedes signed up to a bad (for them) new Concorde agreement without much fuss but which had a point where Mercedes could leave without penalties as Dieter pointed out https://www.racefans.net/2020/09/04/did-mercedes-get-a-special-deal-from-liberty-on-f1s-concorde-agreement/

    Even the positive and hopeful comments by Alonso and Vettel going to midfield teams could all point to that there is a rumour that Mercedes is indeed about to shut operations before long. It would also explain Verstappen’s surprising long term Red Bull signing.

  15. “While Mercedes has confirmed its commitment to remain in Formula 1 beyond the end of this season, both Wolff and star driver Lewis Hamilton are yet to announce their plans for next year”

    Wonder why.

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