Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says the team will stay in F1 “long-term” if Daimler’s financial contribution can be reduced.
Mercedes revealed earlier this year that the 2018 net contribution from Daimler for its Formula 1 operation amounted to less than £40m, while the majority of the team’s budget was covered by prize money and sponsorship.
Although the media is speculating about Mercedes’ possible withdrawal from F1 after 2020, when the new regulations kick in, Wolff says he believes the German manufacturer still gets a lot of value from its participation in the sport.
“I am the one that is responsible for the motor racing activities,” Wolff said.
“But I’m also the first one to acknowledge that times within the auto industry is changing and that all activities need to be looked at.
“Formula 1 and motor racing generally is an activity that we believe is part of our core DNA. The first-ever Mercedes was a race car.
“I think we need to become more efficient. We need to provide a solid business case. We need to reduce the contribution from Daimler into our exercise, and if we’re able to achieve that, then we’re in Formula 1 for the long term.
“F1 represents one of the best return on investments within the whole Daimler group. We’re generating more than a billion in return. And in the end, it’s all about the brand.
“I think what we’re doing is great entertainment, but it’s also technology. It’s the most efficient hybrid engines and giving the brand a sporting image.”
The importance Daimler places on its Formula 1 operation was evident at the last race of the 2019 season in Abu Dhabi, where board member Britta Seeger climbed the podium with Lewis Hamilton to celebrate his race win and collect the winning trophy.
“Since we’ve started on our successful journey in 2014, we have been a part of shaping a different brand image of Mercedes.
“Of course the road cars and the style and the technology are the most relevant part, but I think us winning Formula 1 grand prix has added our small contribution to change the way the brand is being perceived.
“And this is why the board members are here, it is a positive exercise it’s something that Daimler actually benefits from,” concluded Wolff.