L​-R: Toto Wolff, Sir Jim Ratcliffe & Ola Källenius
L​-R: Toto Wolff, Sir Jim Ratcliffe & Ola Källenius

DOMINANT MERCEDES TEAM COMMITS TO REMAIN IN FORMULA ONE & EXPAND PARTNERSHIP WITH WILLIAMS

Seen here with the Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance

Despite considerable speculation to the contrary over the past year, Mercedes-AMG Petronas has officially dispelled rumors of their departure as a Formula One team. “The team will remain the works Formula One team of Mercedes-Benz and will continue to race Mercedes chassis and power units in the coming years,” becoming more closely aligned to Mercedes-AMG, the performance division of Mercedes-Benz.

Rumored earlier to retire from the team to pursue other interests, “Toto Wolff will continue in his role as Team Principal and CEO for a further three years, leading the executive operations of the company and the racing team. He will have the subsequent opportunity to transition to a new executive function within the organization when he decides it is the right time to do so.”

Since 2010, the team has been in a title partnership with PETRONAS, along with other partners. Going forward, Daimler will reduce its 60% shareholding in the team, Toto Wolff (Team Principal and CEO) will increase his 30% shareholding and INEOS will be a one third equal shareholder.

Wolff has been especially accessible to interviewers during Formula One television broadcasts and has consistently provided significant insight into the team’s racing, so his continuation in his familiar role should come as welcome news to fans of Formula One. In making the announcement, Toto said that “I am pleased to begin this new chapter for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. This team is like a family for me. We have been through so many highs and lows together that I cannot imagine working with a better group of people in this sport – and I am very happy to continue together into this new era.”

In his role as Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz, Ola Källenius said: “We are delighted to welcome INEOS to our Formula One joint venture as a fellow shareholder. It is a sign of the strength of the organization in Brackley (the racing team’s factory) that we have been able to attract prestigious investors in INEOS, who see real potential for the future growth and development of the team. We remain firmly committed to Formula One, and the forthcoming cost cap along with the new shareholding structure put us in an even stronger position for continued success. With an even closer alignment to our Mercedes-AMG performance division beginning in 2021, and Toto’s continued leadership in the coming years, the future is bright for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One.”

INEOS is one of the world’s leading chemical companies (www.ineos.com/company/),manufacturing petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products, with 36 businesses in 29 countries. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, expressed his company’s confidence in their expanded role within the racing team, explaining that “our involvement across a number of different sports demonstrates that we always aim for the very best. When we entered Formula One earlier this year, we chose to do so with a Mercedes team that had set new benchmarks, and since then we have been in discussions about how we could increase our involvement. This is a unique opportunity to make a financial investment in a team at the very top of its game, but which still has rich potential to grow in the future. We could not wish for better partners than Mercedes-Benz, and a team of proven winners led by Toto.”

Sweeping changes in the Formula 1 regulations will take effect in 2022, potentially putting the teams on a more equal footing. Also in the 2022 season, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team will expand their technical collaboration with Williams Racing to provide gearboxes and related hydraulic components, in addition to the Mercedes-Benz Power Units that have powered Williams Racing since 2014. “Historically, Williams has built its own gearboxes and hydraulics in-house.”

According to the provisional 2021 Formula One calendar, as released by the FiA, tentatively there will be 23 races in the new season, beginning on March 21 in Australia (Melbourne). However, this race was cancelled at the last minute in 2020, and in 2021 it is subject to the possibility of yet another cancellation due to COVID-19. The season will conclude on December 5, in Abu Dhabi. Visit www.formula1.com for more information.

COPYRIGHT © 2021 BY JAN WAGNER – AUTOMATTERS & MORE #673

Jan Wagner

2 Comments

  1. Vern Southard on August 3, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    Very interesting article on Williams Racing. One of the greatest F-1 racing teams, and i’m glad they are teaming up with Mercedes to get competitive again. I saw a comment of yours on the Autoweek website regarding the auto racing photography of Jutta Fausel-ward, and when you mentioned photographing Can-am racing at Edmonton I got curious and checked out your Automatters site. It seems we have a few things in common, auto racing, digital photography, Alberta, Southern California, working in the publishing field, and just loving to get out there with a good DSLR and shoot photos of what’s going on.
    I’ve lived and worked in Calgary, and San Diego. I was in the Calgary Sports Car Club, and a race safety marshal for Can-Am races at Edmonton. I used to compete in road rallys and ice racing in Alberta. I’ve photographed auto races at Riverside Raceway, Fontana, Daytona, Long Beach, and St.Petersburg (with and without a press pass). I worked in the automotive aftermarket parts industry, and developed advertising collateral for a San Diego based international publishing company’s automotive division. I worked at Sunshine Village Ski area in Banff, and lived in Canmore. I know how to drive in the winter, and drove over the Rogers Pass at night during a blizzard in a 1958 Volkswagen, mostly because I was afraid that if I stopped I would never get going again. I now live in Florida with my girlfriend who knows cars and has owned some fast sports cars, most recently a Mazda Miata. I’ll peruse some more of your articles and photos now that I found your website. Cheers.

    • Jan Wagner on August 3, 2021 at 10:06 pm

      Hi Vern,

      I’m glad you were able to figure out how to find my column. I thought about including my AutoMatters.net website in my comment but that would not have been appropriate.

      I think that Bottas probably sealed his fate at Mercedes with his serious error on Sunday, opening the door for George Russell. We’ll see. Did you watch that race?

      This particular post is one of the few that does not have my own photography. I certainly would have preferred to be there and shoot my own photos, but that was not in the realm of possibility. If you explore the site, you’ll see plenty of my photography. I’m actually going to use F1 media photos again, because I will be writing my next column (tonight) about last Sunday’s incredible F1 race.

      It sounds like we have a lot in common. I’ve lived and worked in Calgary and San Diego too, and for a short time I volunteered as a marshal at Edmonton International Speedway. I also autocrossed a tired Datsun 240-Z that I bought in very used condition (steel plates had been welded into the floor, where it had rusted through), before the engine blew. There is a photo of me slaloming it here: https://automatters.net/memorializing-the-very-last-time/

      I competed a little bit in rallies in Alberta, did lots of slaloms and also ice dices — partly in my 1984 Mazda Rx-7 GSL-SE. I served as newsletter editor and also as President of the Edmonton Light Car Club. I competed across Alberta in the Alberta Autocross Championship series.

      I remember once driving in a total whiteout as I was driving from Calgary to Banff to go skiing one winter. Some idiot passed me on the left. Soon I passed them back. They were in the ditch. The only way to move in those conditions was to follow the taillights in front of you, and hope.

      Did you ever run slaloms with the Calgary Sports Car Club? I came down from Edmonton to run several.

      Once I drove to Saskatchewan for Sports Car Olympics. A friend and fellow member of the ELCC worked at a car dealership. He borrowed a Mustang, which we then proceeded to enter in the various events, including a hillclimb and a rallycross. I still remember taking a turn on the hillclimb too fast. Willow tree saplings on the outside of the turn kept me on the road. Luckily I was able to rub out the marks.

      Then there was the time when a bunch of us shared a modified yellow VW Beetle to ice dice (slalom) on the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club’s ice racing track. Unfamiliar with the VW, I drove too quickly into a turn and was heading sideways for an ice bank on the outside of the turn. Luckily I had the presence of mind — and the time — to turn straight towards the steep ice bank, which had been formed by the cars in their ice races. I launched into the air but landed on the tires and did not roll Fred’s car. I remember laughing like a crazy person as that was happening.

      I also ice diced my RX7 GSL-SE. I competed in the Rubber-to-Ice class. There were also Studded and Unlimited Studded classes. I had to prepare for the turns way in advance.

      You mentioned that your girlfriend owned a Miata. I am on my fourth Miata — an orange 2019 30th Anniversary edition convertible (great car but very cramped inside). You’ll find a few columns about that car here.

      Jan

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