After Red Bull cast some doubt over their participation, citing that it is Honda’s call, now, Mercedes are the next ones. Team principal Toto Wolff confessed that the German team remaining in Formula One as a works team, is “not a given”. In fact, he suggested that Mercedes staying on beyond the 2021 campaign could be in doubt.
Admittedly, the Silver Arrows are still in the process of negotiating a new commercial rights deal with Liberty Media. In light of this, Toto Wolff cannot guarantee any chance of continuing in Formula One.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, the Mercedes team principal said, “Everything indicates that we will stay. But it’s not a given.”
“We are in the middle of discussing the new Concorde Agreement. In connection with this – and independently of it – we are discussing the development of the automobile and its effects on sport.”
Wolff actually posed a question on what kind of direction the automotive world is heading into. He wondered about the relevance that Formula 1 has as an entertainment and technology platform?
During the V6 hybrid engine era, Mercedes dominated F1, with six constructors’ championships. According to Wolff, this factor could decide if they remain, as true success can be established with longevity and short-term achievements.
“If you do a survey today to see which Formula 1 teams are the most successful, most people will say Ferrari,” he continued.
“That’s simply because Ferrari has been at the forefront and competitive for 50 years. I think at a time when everything is so short-term, it’s the sustainability of success that makes the strategy much more credible than fast in and out. Success can also fluctuate at times – it can also happen that you come third.”
“Of course, as a brand used to success, you have to endure keeping your own expectations realistic and calibrating that you can’t win every year. That’s not easy. I have to start with myself: How can I endure that?”
It is also note-worthy that Mercedes will be entering Formula E once the season begins next week in Ad Diriyah. With electric cars being the future and Formula E already attracting numerous manufacturers, will Mercedes shift thei focus to that?