Rumors have been circulating today about Mercedes AMG Petronas and teh possibility of the team pulling out of Formula One. WE haven’t placed too much stock in the reports as it is clear that the flotation of the sport on the Singapore exchange, current ownership structure changes, investors and a new Concorde Agreement in 2012 all make for strange bedfellows and odd happenings and utterances.
Like BMW, Honda or Toyota, a car manufacturer could leave Formula 1 when it ceases to make sense and I’m sure Mercedes have asked the question several times over. We’ve heard Daimler board members call for Mercedes to quit F1 and the ebb and flow of interest in the program has become common place.
While Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren are all rumored to have board positions in the new F1 flotation program, I’m not sure initial emotional reactions can be taken too seriously during negotiations. Ferrari have threatened to breakaway from F1 numerous times and the teams will use what bravado and weight they can to get the best deal they can. No different for Mercedes in this case.
Those who pay, play. The Times article quoted F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone as saying that Mercedes hasn’t done anything in F1 and while that rhetoric, if truly said, is just Ecclestone being Ecclestone, I would argue that Mercedes has done a lot for F1 as an engine supplier alone so that notion doesn’t carry a lot of water for me.
More likely the negotiations are in full swing and teams are trying to get seated int he best possible position they can. I’ll believe Mercedes AMG Petronas is leaving F1 when they’ve left. A Mercedes spokesperson told Sky News:
“We are in discussions with the commercial rights holder and we would like to ask for your understanding that we are not currently commenting on these discussions.”