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Mercedes chairman dismisses F1 quit talk

NEWS STORY
16/05/2022

As Mercedes enjoys the unusual role of spectator as Ferrari and Red Bull battle for the titles, it is not surprising that some are questioning the German team's future.

In recent weeks the usual suspects have run all manner of stories concerning the Silver Arrows and driver Lewis Hamilton, among them British tabloid the Daily Express, which has form for running the sort of 'click here' clickbait headlines that would embarrass the National Enquirer or Sunday Sport.

Among the doom and gloom stories in recent weeks there has even been talk of Mercedes quitting F1 entirely, a move vehemently denied by Ola Kallenius, Chairman of the Management Board of Mercedes-Benz.

"F1 is very relevant and we will remain," he said at a business event this week, insisting that the sport's increasing move towards sustainability is a major factor.

He also cited the sport's current "boom", mainly brought about by the Drive to Survive series.

"It has changed the game, so we are happy to be part of this show and to be one of the strengths of Formula 1, leveraging it for both our technology development and marketing.

"There is significant growth, particularly among the younger generation," he continued. "As far as we are concerned, F1 has a bright future ahead of it."

The overhaul of the engine formula in 2026 which should see the sport move further towards electrification is already attracting the likes of fellow German manufacturers Porsche and Audi, and like them Kallenius believes that lessons learned from the race track will benefit the core business.

"We have decided to go down this path of decarbonisation," he told the Financial Times Future of the Car summit. "It is the only decision we can make, and the same goes for Formula 1.

"A sport like Formula 1 has to put on a show, so the decarbonisation route has to be taken," he continued. "The next engine regulations will give much more importance to the electric part, and there is a clear commitment to make Formula 1 CO2 neutral.

"For the next regulation, the proportion of electricity used on a lap will increase, but we are not yet at the stage where we can run a race like we saw in Abu Dhabi with only battery power. Battery technology is not yet perfected, but going CO2-free and putting more emphasis on electrification ensures F1 remains very relevant.

"There will still be a combustion engine, but it will be used as a laboratory to develop CO2-free fuels, which the aviation industry will probably need, and maybe also to reduce the footprint of the existing car fleet."

Interestingly, his comment comes at a time Mercedes has opted to sell its championship winning Formula E team to McLaren as it withdraws from the 'true electric' series.

The Mercedes F1 operation is owned in three equal parts by Daimler AG, Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS and Toto Wolff.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Endre, 16/05/2022 1:59

"I wonder if this rumor will change the no pressing need for an 11th team talk ... where there is smoke there might be fire. In the same way it started with a rumor about Suzuki in MotoGP and this weekend we had the shock announcement of withdrawal after they signed with Dorna until 2026. It could happen with any team or manufacturer at any time for whatever reasons they have. To keep F1 safe we do need not 11 but hopefully 12 - 13 teams so that if a manufacturer and it's satellite retires, there are still enough cars on the grid."

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