Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has hit back at suggestions the German manufacturer is readying to leave Formula 1 and described a recent report as “a nonsense story”.

Speculation has mounted in recent months that Mercedes and its parent company Daimler is considering whether to pull out of F1 at the end of the 2020 season, with a new Concorde Agreement yet to be agreed upon by any of the 10 F1 teams as discussions continue between FOM, the FIA and the participating entrants.

Speaking at a press conference announcing Mercedes’ extended partnership with INEOS at the Royal Automobile Club in London on Monday, Wolff dismissed any exit stories as false.

“F1 has always been a great provider of headlines over the winter break,” Wolff said.

“And by the sheer lack of racing results and the controversy on track, dropping a bombshell of a headline always sells.

“And in that respect, I'm always surprised that there's just some lunatic out there that writes something on an internet page and it's being picked up - which was a complete nonsense story - which was put straight by the CEO of Daimler the following day.

“That is one part of the story. The other part is that with everything we do, we have to question is it the right activity that we deploy? It's whether it's in the petrochemical business, whether it's as an OEM in the car industry, or whether it's F1.

"We, as Daimler today, we see the advantages and the benefits that Formula 1 as a marketing platform provides to us and we see the data. And that is the underlying condition why we're doing it.”

And Wolff stressed that Mercedes is in F1 for the “long term”, which he believes is highlighted in the new five-year collaboration with INEOS.

"Like I always said, we are in this for the long term," Wolff explained. "F1 provides a great marketing platform for our brand. This is what we do.

"We build race cars and we build road cars. F1 is the halo platform for hybrid engineering. That is something that is not communicated enough, because it was talked down at the beginning of the V6 hybrid era. And it's something we should really put more emphasis on.

"And in that respect with, with all the things that are out in the media, we like the platform, but at the same time, we're in a negotiation with the rights holders, and things need to be sorted out. But the partnership is clearly something that indicates our wish to continue our successful journey in F1.”

Wolff said Mercedes’ aim is to be making a profit from F1 and wants its continued involvement in the championship to ultimately become a “no brainer decision”.

"This is exactly what we have as our target," he added. "We want to make it a no brainer from the sheer numbers. The marketing is huge and the return on investment should be the icing on the cake.

"We see that in the American sports leagues, that most of them, be in the NFL or the NBA, are profitable franchises.

“And this is my personal aim and my personal contribution with our partners to turn this into such a corporate company, so that from a service standpoint it becomes a no brainer to participate.”

 

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