Mercedes wants F1 team to be ’cost-neutral’ - Wolff
"The contract with Ineos is the cornerstone"
Toto Wolff wants Mercedes’ Formula 1 team to be "cost-neutral within the next two years".
Amid speculation the Daimler board may be inching towards pulling the plug, the Austrian is quoted by German-language media as hitting out at "lunatics" who are spreading rumours online.
He was speaking at the reveal of Mercedes’ 2020 livery, featuring a brand new red presence on the livery in deference to major new five-year sponsor Ineos.
"The contract with Ineos is the cornerstone of our future plans for participation in Formula 1," Wolff said.
"We work for the long term. We like the platform that Formula 1 provides, but at the same time we are negotiating with the owners of the commercial rights and there are still issues that need to be addressed.
"However, as I said, the contract with Ineos indicates our desire to continue our successful program in Formula 1. Obviously everyone involved wants to resolve the issues before 2021," he added.
"There seems to be the basis for a successful future but, as with Lewis (Hamilton’s contract), we are still talking about it and I would not like to comment before putting it on paper."
As for the rumours of a gradual withdrawal from Formula 1, Wolff aimed fire at those who promote such stories.
"It always amazes me that one of these lunatics writes something on a website and then this pointless story is repeated on many other sites even if it is clarified by the CEO of Daimler the next day," he said.
Wolff revealed that, with the $175 million budget cap coming in for 2021, Mercedes can aim towards having a "cost-neutral" F1 involvement soon.
"That is exactly what we aim for," he said. "The costs for Mercedes decrease every year.
"At the same time, we are generating billions of dollars in marketing value, meaning that Formula 1 offers one of the best returns on investment. That is why F1 continues to make absolute sense for us."