An interesting story appeared from the German publication f1-insider.com this morning, written by Ralph Bach, who claims that Mercedes might well leave F1 as a works team.
With Toto Wolff not appearing in Brazil adding further weight of rumour to this story, Bach claims that a source has revealed that “The team is for sale.”
Further, a possible candidate next to Russia’s chemical company Mogul Nikita Mazepin, is the US billionaire Roger Penske (82), who has just bought the rights to the Indy Car series and the circuit in Indianapolis.
Mercedes CEO (Daimler) Ola Källenius is said to want to save around 1.4 billion euros in personnel by 2022, but also wishes to remain in Formula 1, despite some shareholders and employees demanding that they must to cut costs.
“We have won the World Championship six times in a row.” says Källenius.
“This is unique and has more than paid off in marketing.”
Indeed, F1-Insider claims that they estimate that Mercedes benefit a marketing value of around one billion straight from their F1 success.
But if Mercedes focus is shifting to electric vehicles, then surely Formula E has an allure plus of course the Concorde Agreement expires at the end of 2020, which obliges teams like Mercedes to start next year.
“Withdrawal from the agreement would result in a penalty in the three-digit million range. Källenius does not and cannot afford this at the moment.” says Bach.
Bach also claims that Red Bull Racing has been offered the chance to run Mercedes Power Units if the team is sold. This would, of course, be a benefit if Honda fails to deliver Championship contending engines, or perhaps leave F1 entirely.
But the very interesting part of this goes back to the summer when Zak Brown of McLaren announced a return to Mercedes power for 2021, sparking rumour that the team would return to works Mercedes status. Of course Toto Wolff denied the possibility at the time.
But we have since learned that Mercedes instructed McLaren to make an increase in investment at Woking, primarily with a brand new state of the art wind tunnel, further cementing the credibility of that move to works status.
Interesting times ahead for McLaren fans.