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Merc admits F1 pull-out 'wouldn't save a cent'

Having threatened to 'consider its engagement' in Formula 1 should the FIA mete out what it deems to be an 'unreasonable punishment' to McLaren in today's FIA World Motor Sport Council hearing into the Melbourne 'lies' scandal in Paris, Mercedes-Benz has now qualified its assertion by admitting that a sudden withdrawal 'wouldn't save [the company] a cent'.

With the automotive industry in turmoil and having seemingly been hit hardest of all by the global credit crunch in recent months, Mercedes has suffered like all of its rivals, with parent company Daimler posting a €1.29 billion loss in the first quarter of 2009 alone – compared to a €1.33 billion profit in the same period twelve months earlier.

Such economic uncertainty has caused all F1 manufacturers to re-assess their presence in what is the most glamorous and as such most expensive sport in the world, and Daimler union leader Helmut Lense hinted prior to the weekend that the Stuttgart marque would be wise to consider a pull-out because employees are unhappy at such inordinate sums of money being spent on supplying McLaren, Brawn GP and Force India with engines when many of their colleagues are facing redundancy in order to bankroll the continued involvement [see separate story – click here].

Whilst underlining that the three-pointed star has 'no sacred cows', Daimler's chief financial officer Bodo Uebber nonetheless has sought to quell speculation by insisting that if there is eventually to be a withdrawal, it will not be for a while yet.

“We look into our Formula 1 commitment every year,” he is quoted as having said by The Associated Press, “but even if we dropped out of Formula 1 now, we wouldn't be saving a cent because the contracts are long-term.”

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April 29, 2009 3:34 PM

Clever FIA. I wonder if these "long-term" contracts go thru FOTA, or predate it? Any info on the length of the contracts and if all manufacturers are on a similar length of contract? If what Mercedes says is true it doesn't sound as if Honda did very well by dropping F1 (beside the Brawn success), or was their contract different?

rich ard

April 29, 2009 6:26 PM

nealio, apart from having to honour contracts, honda had actually to PAY ross brawn £130m to take over the operation. but i believe that honda is listed as the owner of brawngp. so it looks as if they have some form of agreement with brawn, to the effect that he must repay this "loan" before they relinquish full control. if honda felt that they could save money by leaving F1, then merc MUST save.

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