Back in November 2019, TJ13 reported on a story published by German journalist Ralph Back of F1 Insider – in it, the German claims that Mercedes might well leave F1 as a works team then cites the evidence.
TJ13 reported this story as it began to confirm rumours already understood – that approaches have been made to sound out individuals who ‘might be interested’ in purchasing the Mercedes team from Brackley in the UK toward the back end of 2019.
TJ13 also felt that Ralph’s story confirmed suspicions your humble writer had as far back as October 2019 when the paddock big wigs such as Mercedes AMG F1 Team boss Toto Wolff were bemoaning the planned budget cap.
“2020 will be a year of extra spending to be ready for 2021,” said Wolff, and then warned that teams would have to plough their huge budgets into the year proceeding any spending cap. This was an unpalatable process for the parent owner of Daimler Benz whose CEO Ola Källenius was about to announce the planned saving of around 1.4 billion euros in personnel by 2022.
Listen to Toto, the man who knows.
Listen to Toto again, who only this week was waxing lyrical about the amount of marketing value he and the Brackley team had provided the Mercedes brand, a story published here only yesterday.
“We’ve become a really cool brand. And I think we’ve played our part in helping the brand change its image, in meeting this success, in triggering emotions. Because that’s basically what you want to trigger in any marketing activity – emotions. And that’s what we do. ” A great sales pitch for an eager Aston Martin brand perhaps? I digress….
Just a few days ago, Ralph Back wrote about an interview with Eddie Jordan, the self-proclaimed Irish ‘soothsayer’ of the paddock. In this interview, Eddie returns to some earlier predictions that haven’t quite come to pass. That of Mercedes leaving the sport, and also Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari.
To be fair to Eddie, he has indeed managed to successfully predict some seismic events over the last 8 or so years, most notably the move from McLaren to Mercedes by Lewis Hamilton in 2012.
Most recent was during the 2019 British Grand Prix, Jordan said a couple of things – Mercedes power would return to McLaren. This was announced some months later, therefore true.
The other being Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari. He knew of the talks going on between Hamilton and the pair at the top of Ferrari – John Elkann and the remaining son of Enzo Ferrari and Vice President, Piero Ferrari, You can read more on that here.
So back to the present day and the interview between F1-Insider and Eddie Jordan. It seems that in his eyes, a mass manufacturer pull out predicted by TJ13 last year could now happen. Accelerated by the Corona Virus pandemic.
“The world has not only changed extremely because of Corona, the values of people have shifted. Environmental awareness is high on the list. For the bosses of the companies, this means that they too have to rethink. ” says Jordan.
TJ13 saw the move by the VW Group toward full electric racing only as a sign of things to come in F1. You can read this here, or simply watch the Youtube channel of over 3million subscribers – Donut Media – who picked up on my story. I’ve embedded to Youtube video below:
Eddie Jordan continues:
“I am convinced that manufacturers like Mercedes, Honda and maybe Renault will pull the ripcord and will end their Formula 1 commitment in the next two years. “
Jordan also is convinced that Aston Martin will put more resource into the new era of Formula 1 that is coming our way:
“The Mercedes leadership cannot do anything else: They have achieved everything, won everything. Under these circumstances, they can no longer promote further successes.
“They will sell their team, perhaps to Lawrence Stroll, who aims to become world champion with his son and his new Aston Martin brand. And that indeed will be difficult with his current Racing Point team.”
Another factor in this Corona Virus situation is the oil companies fueling the sponsorship of teams like Mercedes.
“Oil prices are falling, so the oil companies can no longer afford a commitment that is in the mid double-digit million range each year.
“Petronas will therefore also have to stop their sponsorship. This then tears a huge hole into the budget.”
Mercedes will likely remain in F1, and CEO Ola Källenius has more or less said this recently. But TJ13 (and clearly Jordan) thinks only as an engine provider.
“I can imagine that Mercedes will enter into a more intensive partnership with McLaren as in earlier times.” says Jordan.
It is very likely we’ll see McLaren return to works status, as has been said by this website for some time now.
As for Ferrari, Jordan is now convinced Hamilton will end up there before too long. They will be the only ones who would afford him in what will be the new, cheaper F1 landscape post Corona.
“They have Formula 1 blood in their veins, so Formula 1 is not up for debate. Exit threats are just warning shots.” Jordan predicts: “In the future, Ferrari, Red Bull and probably McLaren-Mercedes will again be the pillars of Formula 1.”
The Irishman continues saying “Unlike Lewis Hamilton, I don’t know Vettel very well, but in my opinion he has no choice but to stop or switch to McLaren. The train at Ferrari has long left for him.
“Lewis will switch to Ferrari. Only the Italians can still afford his salary and they know that he is worth it. Verstappen will stay with Red Bull and try to beat Lewis. But that will be very difficult.”
Vettel to McLaren has been on the cards for some time. TJ13 reported this last year with Vettel’s close relationship with team boss Andreas Seidl.
With fewer races available to prove worth, and team decisions about 2021 driver lineups compressed toward the end of the year, Vettel might well decide to move before being pushed. Indeed, he has already rejected a deal of only 1 year from Ferrari in which he would clearly be number 2 to Charles Leclerc.
“Seidl [boss of McLaren] knows Vettel well, they knew each other back in the days of BMW Sauber. If Sebastian owes it to someone, he will certainly think of Andreas. And that would be a fantastic PR opportunity for McLaren-Mercedes,” reveals a source close to the British team.
Bernie Ecclestone, former ringmaster of Formula 1 concurs saying:
“I think he recently suffered at Ferrari with his new team-mate Charles Leclerc, who is also managed by the son of the FIA president [Nicolas Todt, son of Jean Todt].
“I also suspect that he did not get the support he needed from Binotto. Sebastian should therefore stop or look for alternatives for 2021. McLaren, which will again be powered by Mercedes, should be one of them.”
Whatever happens, clearly some seismic changes are afoot.