Following on from some breaking news today published by Racefans and Autocar, Mercedes are indeed set for a crunch meeting to decide their future in Formula 1 – The date is set for the 12th February.
Over the past few months rumours persist that Mercedes are looking to sell their team, and again this has come up as a real likelihood after this 2020 season has finished.
TJ13 has reported this story several times, starting with the FIA reforms coming for 2021. Perversely, the budget cap for 2021 onwards has kick-started a spending spree for this season. Indeed McLaren have just invested a huge sum of money in a state of the art wind tunnel and development facilities. Interestingly, there’s been less investment elsewhere…
Back in October Wolff warned the FIA and Liberty that we will continue to see vast sums being spent in the leadup to the budget cap.
“2020 will be a year of extra spending to be ready for 2021,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, reported by TJ13 in October last year READ MORE HERE
Indeed Wolff warned at the time that this move could have serious implications for the manufacturers participating any further in F1.
“All this change is expensive” said Wolff. The Austrian is the direct link between the racing team and the board of the manufacturing giant, the source of the team’s budget, so obviously knew of the coming planned cuts mandated by the parent company.
In essence, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are going to have a financial arms race in the next season in order to be able to start the following year again with a head start under the new rules and regulations.
“We will do things differently than today. And that’s why it’s clear that we have to adapt and change in 2020. And all this change is expensive,” said Mercedes boss Wolff.
Indeed, it is now known that Mercedes CEO (Daimler) Ola Källenius is said to want to save around 1.4 billion euros in personnel by 2022. The belief is that the brand wish to remain a presence in F1, probably as an engine supplier.
Bernie Ecclestone concurs with the belief that Mercedes are going. Reported by TJ13 last week (READ MORE HERE), Mr E was quoted as saying:
“Why should Mercedes continue to spend so much money on a team when they have already won everything?
“In terms of image, it is perfectly sufficient for the company to do marketing with the hybrid engines.”
The irony is, that in a push to keep the engines the same and not change in 2021, power output has converged to be more or less equal between manufacturers, therefore diluting any power advantage Mercedes used to enjoy. Of course, this makes it more difficult to ensure domination. The manufacturers’ biggest return from their works team.
Add to all of this the move by their Champion driver Lewis Hamilton, a bid to gain a huge salary of $60 million per year and an extension until 2025 with Mercedes, none of this stacks up with a budget cut required by Mercedes and a road car future that doesn’t include internal combustion, in the long term at least.
So over to McLaren, one of the few teams who are already ahead in the investment arms race rush before 2021 budget caps come into force.
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.
TJ13 believes this is in all likelihood the first steps for a McLaren Mercedes works team, or at least something close to it.