Daimler chairman Ola Källenius called it an “incredibly important” piece of business to retain Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff.
The Austrian investor has signed a new three-year deal to remain with the Mercedes Formula 1 team as its CEO and principal, with the opportunity to transition into a different executive role down the line.
At the same time Wolff’s new deal was announced it was also confirmed that Wolff, Daimler and INEOS would all become equal owners of the team.
“That’s incredibly important, what Toto and the team have achieved over the last 10 years or so is unbelievable – seven World Championships, Lewis Hamilton’s seventh World Championship this season,” said Källenius when asked about the importance of Wolff signing fresh terms, as quoted by GPFans.
“So to have him [Wolff] on board and continuing with us is reassuring. He’s not just our team boss and a business partner, he is part of the Mercedes family.”
Källenius said the Mercedes F1 team is turning into a “sports franchise”, meaning the time was right to bring INEOS in as an equal partner, as opposed to it being a sign of their commitments to Formula 1 diminishing.
“We are now taking our Formula 1 engagement to the next level,” he said.
“It’s really turning into a sports franchise, and we want to build the value of this franchise into an even bigger fan base.
“INEOS is the perfect partner for us. It’s a technology company, they are passionate about innovation, so are we.
“They are engaged in other sports at the highest level, so they understand this world of being in the top echelon of sports, and that’s why they are a perfect partner for us.
“The Mercedes brand was born on the race track, so it’s in our DNA. We live and breathe motorsports, so we’re in for the long term.
“Formula 1, being the highest form of motorsport, is where we need to be, so our commitment to the sport is strong, and with this partnership with INEOS we can develop it even further.”
The last piece of business left for Mercedes to complete ahead of the 2021 season is a new contract for Hamilton.
There are conflicting reports though surrounding the stage of any talks. Both parties say they haven’t yet begun negotiations, but while Hamilton said contract talks between him and Wolff are set to begin in the coming days, Wolff said a new Hamilton contract may not be sorted until the eve of 2021 pre-season testing.