Mercedes’ Formula 1 future beyond 2020 looks increasingly secure following the announcing of a long-term deal with INEOS, but Toto Wolff admits it is not completely decided.
The Mercedes works team rejoined the F1 grid in 2010 when it took over Brawn, and it has won the last six drivers’ and constructors’ world titles.
Mercedes’ success and lucrative sponsorship deals mean parent company Daimler has a low net cost and the team has stated it receives an estimated equivalent advertising spend of $3.7billion.
Though it is yet to commit to F1 beyond 2020, Mercedes has signed new multi-year sponsorship agreements, initially with ex-Ferrari sponsor AMD and now a new principal partnership with INEOS.
“The partnership is something that indicates our wish to continue our successful journey in Formula 1” :: Toto Wolff
Team boss Wolff has called the INEOS deal “an important cornerstone of our future plans in Formula 1” and given the strongest hint yet that Mercedes is set to stay on the grid.
“We are in this for the long-term,” Wolff said. “This is what we do, we build race cars and we build road cars.
“Formula 1 is the halo platform for hybrid engineering, something that is not communicated enough because it was talked down at the beginning of the hybrid era. It’s something we should put more emphasis on.
“We like the platform but at the same time we are in negotiations with the rights holders and things needed to be sorted out.
“But the partnership is something that indicates our wish to continue our successful journey in Formula 1.”
Mercedes has invested heavily in the team’s Brackley headquarters and its Brixworth High Performance Powertrains division was responsible for the period of domination that began when F1 switched to V6 turbo-hybrid engines in 2014.
That investment has continued in preparation for the major 2021 rules overhaul coming into F1 next year, as well as a $175million cost cap.
Wolff would not put a timeline on Mercedes cementing its future, but said it’s an “ongoing process” and a “complicated set of contracts”.
“There are quite some topics that remain to be agreed on and it’s a work in process,” said Wolff.
“Clearly there is the will and the wish for all of the stakeholders to come to a close before we embark on the 2021 season, because that would be an uncomfortable situation.”