Mercedes principal Toto Wolff says cutting parent company Daimler’s contributions to their F1 team is crucial for their “long-term future”.
Despite capturing the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles for the past six years, Mercedes’ future in the sport isn’t guaranteed.
Their parent company Daimler were present at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP as board member Britta Seeger received the Constructors’ trophy on the podium, but the team’s accounts for 2018 showed that Daimler’s contributions were still just under £40million.
Therefore even though racing is at Mercedes’ “core”, Wolff still says cutting Daimler’s contributions is vital to their “long-term” F1 future.
“I am the one that is responsible for the motor racing activities,” he told Motorsport.com.
“But I’m also the first one to acknowledge that times within the auto industry are 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.”
After Mercedes returned to the sport in 2010 it took until 2012 for the first victory to come when Nico Rosberg won the Chinese GP, but it was from 2014 where their dominance of the sport began.
And Wolff says that the Mercedes F1 team represents one of the best investments of the “whole Daimler group”.
“F1 represents one of the best return on investments within the whole Daimler group,” he explained.
“We’re generating more than a billion in return. And at 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.
“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 grands 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.”