Daimler chief executive Ola Kaellenius has denied that Mercedes is preparing to pull the plug on its F1 operations from 2021.
A joint media report from Autocar and RaceFans.net published on Wednesday claimed that Mercedes’ future in the sport would be considered at a Daimler board meeting tentatively scheduled for February 12.
The report – which also alluded to a potential takeover scenario of the Mercedes team involving Toto Wolff and Racing Point billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll, as well as to an Aston Martin re-branding of the outfit – generated a fair amount of buzz and inevitable speculation about the fate of the Silver Arrows squad from 2021.
However, at the German Auto Industry annual reception in Berlin on Wednesday, Kaellenius was quizzed on the conjecture according to Reuters.
Asked whether Mercedes were mulling a departure from Grand Prix racing, the Daimler chairman responded to the question with a clear “Not true!”, a short response that still leaves the door open to interpretation as it may have signified that the German manufacturer will indeed remain in F1, but only as an engine supplier!
A Mercedes source also informed Reuters that a February 12 board meeting was not on the manufacturer’s current agenda.
Mercedes wasn’t the only party involved in the speculation to rebuff the latest hearsay on Wednesday.
Late in the day, Lewis Hamilton took to social media to deny that he had initiated contract discussions with Toto Wolff for 2021 and beyond.
A recent story published by Italy’s La Gazetta dello Sport stated that Hamilton’s negotiations with Mercedes had hit a snag after the six-time world champion allegedly asked for a four-year deal worth $60 million a season.
Hamilton took to Instagram to ridicule the gossip.
“FYI Toto and I have not even spoken about contract yet. Nothing is being negotiated currently, papers making up stories,” wrote the Briton.
The 35-year-old F1 star will embark this year on his 14th season of Formula 1 with the ambition of matching the great Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles.
Mercedes will unveil its W11 challenger entrusted to Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas on February 14 at Silverstone.