In Formula 1’s modern turbo era, Mercedes has been the team to beat. It’s won the driver’s and constructor’s championship every year since 2014, but seemingly crazy reports out of the U.K. suggest that the reign of Mercedes F1 could come to an abrupt end. Based on a joint investigation, Autocar and RaceFans report that the Mercedes-AMG team could pull out of F1 after this upcoming season.
The board of Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler will apparently meet next month, and then, a decision will be made on if will keep its F1 team around. If the board decides to cut the team, Mercedes will still stay in the sport as an engine supplier, as it has deals with McLaren, Racing Point, and possibly Williams.
And if Mercedes decides to pull its entry, the team won’t die either. Autocar and RaceFans report that Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll—owner of the Racing Point team and father of driver Lance—is interested in taking over the team. The two outlets reported last month that Stroll was interested in buying Aston Martin, and now the pair says that if Mercedes decides to get out of F1, Stroll could take over the team and turn it into an Aston Martin works effort. Current Mercedes F1 principal Toto Wolff—who has a large financial stake in the Mercedes team—would stay on for this new Aston Martin effort.
If all this were to happen—and it’s a big if—Lewis Hamilton could end up going to Ferrari for 2021. Hamilton and Ferrari reps held talks last year about the six-time champ joining the Italian team when his Mercedes contract expires after this upcoming season. That said, Hamilton and Wolff are close, so they may stick together. And if Mercedes ends up staying in F1, Lewis might remain with his current team.
Mercedes is said to be considering an exit from F1 so it can reinvest the huge amount of money it spends there in its road-car division. Like all major automakers, Mercedes has to commit lots of R&D investment towards reducing its carbon footprint, and autonomy, and an F1 program is expensive. Formula 1 will see a major rule change in 2021 that would require Mercedes to spend even more money to remain competitive, too.
Autocar and RaceFans also say that Chinese automaker Geely—which owns Volvo and Lotus—could be involved as well. Geely may invest in the new F1 team that could come from the former Mercedes effort, and Aston Martin itself.
Mercedes hasn’t made a final decision yet, but we should know about its intentions in the coming months.
source : roadandtrack.com