Mercedes has won every drivers’ and constructors’ championship in F1 since 2014. With a significant rules overhaul due in 2021, it faces a significant hike in costs in order to maintain its competitive advantages.
Contacted by Racefans, a Mercedes-AMG F1 Team spokesman said they could not comment without further detail.
Mercedes is expected to continue in F1 as an engine supplier, however; it already has contracts in place with McLaren and Racing Point and potential deals to supply the new owners of the Mercedes team and current customer Williams.
This would allow the company to continue having a high-level presence in the sport through what is believed to be a profit-making channel. Mercedes’ F1 engine division is based in Brixworth in the UK and has also contributed expertise to the firm’s road car projects in the past.
Mercedes has publically set itself the goal of saving 1.4 billion euros (£1.2bn) by the end of 2022 and announced a series of job and investment cuts at the end of last year toward this objective. Although prize money and sponsorship was said to have covered the vast bulk of the F1 team’s expenditure, Daimler’s board is said to be concerned that competing in such an overtly extravagant sport at a time of redundancies and the increasing importance of environmental messaging is inappropriate.
Perhaps the most intriguing knock-on effect of the decision will be to whom the ownership of the Mercedes F1 team transfers. Sources suggest a plan is in place for team principal Toto Wolff, who is already a substantial shareholder of the team, to assume control, sensationally working with current Racing Point F1 team owner and mooted Aston Martin investor Lawrence Stroll.
It’s suggested that the pair will invest respectively in the team and Aston Martin, with one source claiming that Wolff is weighing up the opportunity to assume a top-line position at Aston Martin’s road car division while a trusted lieutenant is put in place of the F1 operation. This would be rebranded as an Aston Martin works team, running engines from minority shareholder Mercedes.
However, other sources have denied that Wolff has any interest in stepping into a leadership role of a road car manufacturer.
An Aston Martin spokesman declined to comment on the rumours when approached by Autocar.
Sources suggest that if Stroll were to get involved, he would then sell Racing Point – potentially to Belarus-born Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, who made his fortune in the chemical industry. His son Nikita is a high-level racer who has previously tested for the Force India F1 team, which became Racing Point partway through the 2018 season.