Mercedes committed to F1 after disappointing season
"We’re staying there for the longer term"
Mercedes GP’s 2010 season did not live up to expectations, but the German carmaker remains committed to formula one.
The Stuttgart marque took over reigning 2009 champions Brawn at the end of last season and secured the services of returning champion Michael Schumacher.
But the seven time title winner failed to score even a single podium, whilst the W01 finished the championship a distant fourth, amid suggestions Mercedes’ ongoing commitment was already in doubt.
However, parent Daimler’s CEO Dieter Zetsche said in an interview on Tuesday that there should be no speculation about Mercedes’ F1 participation.
"We have been in F1 for some time and we’re staying there for the longer term," he is quoted by the DPA news agency.
"We don’t want to be deciding each year whether we are in or out. And we didn’t sign a one-year contract with Michael Schumacher, we signed for three years," Zetsche insisted.
He said Mercedes should not feel too disappointed with its year.
"On the one hand, we can’t have expected more as a newly formed team. We would not have complained if we had won the championship, of course, but it wasn’t a realistic expectation," he said.
Zetsche also said he was not disappointed with Schumacher’s performance after a three-year retirement.
"It is very difficult to put in an impressive performance with a less competitive car. First we have to give him the car to show us his capabilities."
But the expectations for 2011 are higher, Zetsche conceded.
"It is clear that the public, and also ourselves, expect us to be looking better than this year," he admitted.
"One must, however, accept that in F1 – and in sport more generally – success is not reliably predictable. Otherwise, it would be dead boring," added Zetsche.
But for the second year of Mercedes’ works foray in collaboration with F1’s most successful driver, he acknowledged that the pressure is higher for 2011.
"Absolutely. And that is the essence of our brand — we want to demonstrate our leadership in this industry to be the best. It’s not arrogance, it is what is expected of us and what we are measured against.
"Of course this means that if we don’t meet this standard, we are criticised. We have to bear that. But this is also evidence that we are trusted to deliver," added Zetsche.