Is Mercedes About To Withdraw From F1 and Will GEELY Enter the Race?
No smoke without burning rubber. Automologist MAC brings us the latest speculations from the tracks.
Mercedes, one of the most venerable names in motorsport history, is said to be discussing withdrawing from Formula One at the end of the season. According to various reports, the future of the F1 team will be discussed at the next board meeting in the second week of February. This has obviously stoked the rumour mill about the future of Lewis Hamilton and a possible move to Ferrari and, of course, who would replace Mercedes. Here is where the rumours start to fly thick fast and furious, with some saying Geely is already eyeing at least a piece of the action.
As of yet, everything is hanging in the balance as the company considers their involvement in the future of F1 at the very highest level of the company. Of late, the company has not enjoyed the financial results demanded of them by shareholders and it is believed that they want to redirect the racing budget into research and development of lower carbon footprint technologies.
Part of the problem is that the new owners of F1 are demanding a nine-month notice period as of the start of next season, but if they decide to go now, they can go—just walk out the door. Mercedes has ruled supreme over the past six years, winning just about everything they wanted to in F1. But there will be significant rule changes for the next season, which will result in massive investment, and all of this whilst the company has set itself a target of saving 1.4 billion Euros by 2022.
So, who would replace Mercedes? Well, the rumour is that Toto Wolff, who is already a substantial investor in the team, is in talks with Racing Point owner, Lawrence Stroll, who may well also be an Aston Martin investor. Incidentally, he is also the father of a current F1 driver, Lance Stroll. For now, though, this is being denied by both Wolff and Stroll.
Here is where it gets juicy though for us Asia-based fans. There are suggestions from the corridors of F1 that Geely, the owners of Lotus, Proton, Volvo and Polestar, would also get involved and in doing so also take a stake in Aston Martin. In the first stages, this would just amount to technical involvement but very much with the intent that the role would expand with time, ultimately resulting in Geely being a major stakeholder in Aston Martin.
Possibly the biggest impact would be the departure of their World Champion Driver, Lewis Hamilton, from the team. The six-time champion is now 35 and in F1 terms, that is ancient. But he has admitted to having talks with Ferrari already. The opportunity to drive for perhaps the most followed F1 team and Ferrari’s desire to end their title drought may be too irresistible for both sides, although Wolff has said he would try to keep his driver.
Got a feeling that I will be writing many more stories on this topic in the coming weeks.