Is Mercedes Quitting F1?
Considered one of the pillars of the sport, Mercedes Benz and Formula 1 has had a long history together. Starting their F1 run in 1954, Mercedes Benz won the French Grand Prix with Juan Miguel Fangio and a technologically advanced Mercedes Benz W196. It was a tragic accident that caused Mercedes Benz to pull out of the sport. On June 11th, 1955, a major crash during the 24 Hours of Le Mans caused large fragments of debris to fly everywhere, taking the lives of more than 80 people. One of them was French driver Pierre Levegh, who was driving for Mercedes Benz at the time. By the end of the season, the team fully withdrew from motor sports.
It was not until 2010 that Mercedes Benz would make a comeback, rebranding themselves as Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team. As of 2019, Mercedes is dominating the track, winning every driver’s and constructor’s championship every year since 2014. However, a joint investigation from Autocar and RaceFans indicate that Mercedes-AMG could depart from F1 after this upcoming season.
The board of Daimler, Mercedes Benz’ parent company, is set to meet mid-February to discuss whether or not the team will move forward.
If Mercedes ever decides to pull the plug on their team, they will still stay in the sport as an engine supplier for some of the other teams, including McLaren.
It’s also possible that the team won’t be completely obsolete. Reports suggest that Lawrence Stroll, part owner of the Racing Point Formula 1 team, is interested in acquiring the team. Autocar and Racefans also reported that Stroll was interested in buying Aston Martin, and if Mercedes ever pulls out of F1, there is a high possibility that Stroll could take over and combine the two brands into an Aston Martin works effort.
Daimler has been under pressure to make savings for a while now. Just last year, they announced a “shortfall of profits” of a few billion pounds and a plan to dismiss a few thousand employees. An exit from F1 could mean a reinvestment for Mercedes. The huge amount of money they spend of F1 can be used instead in their road car division.