Toto Wolff has insisted that Mercedes’ plans to increase their stake in Aston Martin to 20% will make no difference to either company’s Formula 1 team.
Mercedes have had a stronger link with Racing Point – who will be rebranded as Aston Martin next season – in recent times.
Racing Point were hit with a 15-point deduction in the constructors’ standings and a 400,000 euros fine this year for being found guilty of ‘copying’ the World Champions’ rear brake ducts on a car that has been described as a ‘pink Mercedes’.
The Silverstone-based team also receive an engine supply from Mercedes as well as a number of non-listed parts for their cars, as permitted by the technical regulations.
Mercedes-Benz recently announced they had struck an agreement with Aston Martin to increase their shareholding in the British car brand to as much as 20% in the next three years.
The increase will come in stages, raising Mercedes’ stake in Aston Martin from its current 2.6% and making it the second-largest shareholder in the company behind Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is also a private shareholder in Aston Martin but has no links to their F1 team.
Asked if Mercedes increasing its stake in Aston Martin would have any implications on the motorsport programmes of either manufacturer, Wolff said no changes were currently anticipated.
“No, not for the time being,” said Wolff, quoted by Autosport. “The Aston Martin Formula 1 team is completely independent from Aston Martin cars.
“Obviously the shareholding in Daimler is something that was decided purely based on the merit of the auto companies and not the racing side.
“From my standpoint, nothing changes.”
The deal between the two manufacturers does place an emphasis on technology transfer, giving Aston Martin access to Mercedes’ powertrain architecture – including hybrid and electric technology – through to 2027 for any future product launches.
Stroll said the partnership was a “transformational moment” for Aston Martin, paving the way for it to become “one of the greatest luxury car brands in the world”.
The return of Aston Martin to grand prix racing in a works capacity has been a big part of Stroll’s vision for the brand, even if the F1 operation is under separate ownership.
Sebastian Vettel, the four-time former World Champion, will join Aston Martin for the 2021 season from Ferrari and is also set to serve as a global ambassador for the brand.