Mercedes F1 Boss Toto Wolff Responds to Saudi-Backed Aramco Partnership Rumours

Published 11/03/2021, 9:12 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during qualifying REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw


There have been rumors of Mercedes dropping Petronas as their title sponsor and replacing one oil company with another, Aramco. Although these rumors have been in the air for a while now, CEO Toto Wolff recently cleared the speculations.

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Petronas’ alliance with Mercedes has been a historic one. As a result, the idea of a replacement shocked many. However, Toto Wolff denied having such negotiations, as he cemented Mercedes’ relationship with the Malaysian oil company by extending their contract.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 22, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in the pits during practice REUTERS/Mike Blake

Wolff had said, “The partnership with Petronas is long term, and we still have many years to spend together.” (Translated via Google Translate)

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A spokesperson for Petronas had verified the Austrian’s statements. “Petronas and Mercedes have both benefited from a long-term collaboration started in 2010. Last year we extended this partnership with a multi-year agreement, and we are proud to be able to continue working together to deliver cutting-edge performance.” 

Thus, Mercedes will continue its decade-long relationship with Petronas, representing the Malaysian Marque on its chassis.

Toto Wolff explains Mercedes’ engine problems

With the title sponsor problem out of the way, Wolff has his hands full with the 2021 championship battle. With the engine penalties raining on the team, Wolff knows the Silver Arrows and their customer teams are in trouble.

Valtteri Bottas is on his sixth ICE, which is double the allowed amount; as a result, he has taken three penalties in the second half of the season. With a closing constructors’ battle with Red Bull, Mercedes cannot afford any errors.

This includes customer teams as well. At the US GP, Williams and Aston Martin accompanied Bottas on the penalty list. This makes McLaren the only customer team unaffected by engine woes.

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Regarding his team, Wolff admitted“I think you see that we are suffering with reliability this year… we are trying to really get on top of the problems and we haven’t understood [them] fully.”

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Regarding the situation with other Mercedes-powered teams, he said, “We are hanging on for dear life in supplying all customers and that is not trivial… McLaren and Aston Martin are more fortunate and in that respect [not taking penalties], we just have to take it on the chin and do the best possible job.”

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As the finale approaches, the Brackley team needs to pull their engine problems together. This is not only important for the constructor’s result but Lewis Hamilton’s W12 as well. With a double championship within reach, a minor problem could prove very costly for the team.

Watch this story: Lewis Hamilton’s Biggest F1 Crashes

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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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