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Mercedes In Talks To Exit Formula One After This Season: Report

Jalopnik logo Jalopnik 30/01/2020 Bradley Brownell
© Photo: Kurt Bradley

Making cars is almost as difficult as it is expensive. Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler is running on hard times right now, having reported a decline in 2019 profit of more than 50 percent. In addition to a desire to focus on road car research and development [because Daimler is pretty screwed on CO2 emissions right now], the company is looking for ways to cut costs and increase profits.

Mercedes has previously said that it wants to cut costs by 1.4 billion dollars by 2022. One really big red mark on the company’s budget sheet right now is the Formula One team which, while successfully delivering six championships in a row, has cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

Toto Wolff and Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll are reportedly working a deal for Mercedes-Benz to exit the sport with Aston Martin taking over as manufacturer partner. According to a report from Autocar, this discussion will take place at MB’s board meeting next month.

If Mercedes does vote to abandon Formula One, it will need to make the decision soon, as spending is currently ramping up for the new-design car for the 2021 season, and Formula One requires teams to provide at least 9 months notice before leaving the sport.

According to those in the know, the Daimler board concerned that competing in a extravagant sport like F1 is sending the wrong message when it is at the same time enacting massive layoffs and pivoting to more environmentally conscious marketing for its electric and hybrid models.

Toto Wolff, the team boss at Mercedes F1, is a heavy investor in the team already. Lawrence Stroll, father of racer Lance Stroll, owner of the Racing Point F1 team, and proposed Aston Martin investor, is reportedly working a deal with Wolff to shift ownership of the Mercedes team. The story goes that both Wolff and Stroll would invest in the racing team and Aston Martin, while the team would become a works Aston effort continuing to lease engines from Mercedes-Benz.

There is even a little bit of scuttlebutt about that claims Stroll and Wolff would be backed by Geely, which has already expressed interest in the Aston Martin brand. Would it also want a Formula One team?

It would make sense that Mercedes-Benz would continue to supply branded Formula One engines to teams as it recently inked a deal to supply the McLaren team starting next year. 

This, of course, brings up a lot more questions than it answers. Where will Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton go when his team leaves, Ferrari? [This is a great opportunity for me to remind Vettel that he should retire, b----.] What will happen to all of the other manufacturer-supported teams? Would an Aston Martin team be able to keep up Mercedes’ momentum in the sport? How much money does Mercedes spend on this sport, anyway?

Pictures: Formula one drivers, then and now

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