An all-important upcoming Daimler board meeting could seal the future of the Mercedes team in F1 and perhaps set in motion a series of sensational events involving the Silver Arrows squad and Lewis Hamilton.
According to a ‘joint investigation‘ from RaceFans veteran F1 reporter Dieter Rencken and website Autocar – two very credible sources, a crucial board meeting is expected to take place on February 12, although the date was not confirmed by Daimler’s representatives.
At stake, the future of Mercedes in F1 beyond 2020 and whether the German manufacturer will continue as a works team or remain solely as an engine supplier.
The joint report suggests that Mercedes may be inclined to pull the plug on its F1 team, having reaped the benefits of its outstanding supremacy in the sport since the introduction of the hybrid era in 2014, but also in light of the automobile manufacturer’s drop in profits and subsequent cost-cutting measures which would perhaps put Daimler at odds with the lavish spending required to maintain its the Mercedes team’s presence in Grand Prix racing.
Furthermore, from a strategic point of view, given the ongoing electrification of the automobile industry, Formula 1 could be perceived as a potential technological dead end for Mercedes in the mid-term, hence its involvement in Formula E.
Should Mercedes decide to quit its works outfit, the question begs of what would become of its Brackley headquarters and of Hamilton?
RaceFans and Autocar speculate that Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll, whose team is powered by Mercedes’ engines, could partner with Wolff to take over the current Silver Arrows team, and pick up in 2021 where the manufacturer will have left off, albeit under a new Aston Martin banner.
Why Aston Martin you ask? Because Stroll has recently taken a keen interest in the prestigious luxury car maker and could attempt a buy-out to turn around Aston’s fortunes following the dwindling of its financials and stock price in 2019.
Mercedes currently supplies engines to Aston Martin for its road cars, so a Merc-powered Aston F1 car is not an absurd proposition.
As for Hamilton, Mercedes’ retreat would likely leave the six-time world champion with just three options: a commitment to the new entity managed by Wolff, a sensational transfer to Ferrari or a well-deserved departure into the sunset.
Both Hamilton and Wolff have expressed their hope of continuing their collaboration with each other and with Mercedes from 2021.
It’s all speculation and conjecture for now, and there are suggestions that Mercedes is simply brandishing a quit threat to Liberty Media to strengthen its position at the negotiation table, where discussions over the sport’s future Concorde Agreement are still ongoing.
Wait and see…