‘I Bought an Additional 3%’ in Mercedes, Toto Wolff Advises Sauber Against Andretti F1 Sale

Published 10/24/2021, 7:47 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


Looking at the immense American fans at COTA, one would mistake the grandstands for those in Silverstone. The crowds were massive, and it was only a Saturday. This reflects a lot on the growing popularity of the sport. Although fans are a wonderful consequence of popularity, the financial aspects of the sports and its teams are seeing changes as well. Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff talked about money matters, sharing his take on the Stateside growth.

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It’s a well-known fact that F1, a European-centric sport for eons, has gained American traction after Liberty Media came into the picture. Drive to Survive, the Miami Circuit- America is a waiting goldmine. Further, with the apparent interest of Andretti in acquiring Sauber, Wolff doesn’t see Mercedes getting hawked soon.

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In the context of Andretti-Sauber discussions, Wolff clarified why selling a team wouldn’t be his way of doing things. “Whoever buys a Formula 1 team today knows exactly to the dot what they need to spend in order to be competitive, because we wouldn’t be able to spend more, so that’s why it has become a very good business opportunity on my side. I wouldn’t sell a team.”

Instead, the captain only looks to expand his ship. ‘On the contrary, with Ineos coming in I bought an additional 3 percent and I’m very happy about that.”

Toto Wolff rationalizes his comments

Formula 1 is in its prime in publicity. So, while there are a lot of buyers in line, few teams would want that; rather, expanding and getting big sponsorships is the way to go.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Darron Cummings

Wolff credits Stefano Domenicali and Liberty for a job well done. Because of their work in increasing American presence, Wolff looks to tap into America. “I think we are in a very good moment in time for Formula 1 because the audiences are growing, the popularity of the sport has been increasing, we are slowly but surely tapping the Americas.”

While Mercedes looks to be far from the financial dumps, Wolff mentioned how the Brackley team‘s top line is taut. Further, the 2021 cost cap brought them a bottom line, an ideal situation for any sport, according to Wolff. ” It shouldn’t be a marketing exercise only and a cost centre. It should be a profit centre similar to what the US, American teams are and we are clearly there.”

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Regarding the Sauber situation, he added, “I would very much hope that all the teams become profitable very soon and I think it is on the verge. You know what your costs are. You can’t spend more than 145 million dollars this year and going down.”

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As the financial aspects of the sport undergo changes, the utopia of a level playing field still seems far. Regardless of buying teams or expanding them, the value of the sport has increased. As Zak Brown said, “Formula 1 teams are undervalued and I think that is why you see people coming into it.” 

Watch this story: Toto Wolff Swears, Valtteri Bottas Bares: Funniest Moments From Drive to Survive

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Shreya Sanjeev

612 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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