F1 pundit identifies why Toto Wolff must be tempted to sell Mercedes stake

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on the grid at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on the grid.

Sky F1 reporter Craig Slater believes team owners like Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, who is sat on an asset which has soared in value due to the sport’s popularity boom, must be considering selling up.

Business is booming in Formula 1 as the series rides the wave of momentum triggered by the success of Netflix’s hit docuseries Drive to Survive, the demand for F1 arguably at an all-time high as a record 24-round calendar looms for F1 2024, with many more interested parties knocking on the door looking for a way in.

And this has meant that investors who bought into F1 teams a few years back have seen the value of their stakes soar.

Craig Slater reckons Toto Wolff must be tempted to sell

In recent years Dorilton Capital purchased the Williams team and Lawrence Stroll took over the bankrupt Force India outfit, who race under the Aston Martin name in present day, while back in 2013 Wolff bought into Mercedes’ F1 team, where he is now one-third owner alongside Daimler and INEOS.

Slater used Wolff as an example in regards to the F1 team value spike, saying his stake he bought for €50 million is now worth more like three billion.

And Slater said “well-placed insiders” have formed him that several team owners are taking a closer look at where the value of their respective assets now stand.

“One or two well-placed insiders have told me that maybe some ownership within Formula 1 have looked at the value of their team has increased and have asked the question: has the sport peaked?” Slater said on the Sky F1 podcast. “Might this be not a bad time to sell out?

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“If you’re talking about Williams being sold for about 140 million and now being worth towards maybe even a billion pounds – never mind dollars – nowadays.

“It’s interesting that Andretti have tried to get in, maybe would be put off by the price tag of buying a team. Are they good value to buy right now an F1 team? Why are the big sovereign wealth funds…and I suppose people are talking about [the rumours of] Aramco buying Aston Martin from Lawrence Stroll and paying top dollar for that.

“If you were Dorilton or Toto Wolff or Lawrence Stroll, who bought it via liquidation, yes, he paid off a lot of the creditors, but you’ve maybe paid a couple hundred million, or I think Toto paid 50 million euros for his stake, it’s now worth three billion or whatever.

“Does that have its own incentive to sell, when in a few years you’ve made such a big gain, which is why I question. It must be quite tempting for some of these owners to maybe think about offloading it in the present climate, which is certainly benign compared to where it was a few years ago.”

While all teams are making serious gains in terms of value, major work is also needed when it comes to on-track performance if the dominant Red Bull outfit are to be reeled in.

Red Bull pieced together an F1 2023 campaign of unprecedented dominance, winning 21 of the 22 grands prix held.

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