Mercedes are only days away from leaving Formula One unless a new deal can be arranged with F1 bosses.
This isn’t the first time that the current Formula One World Champions have hinted at an exit from the sport, but there does appear to be a little more to this than previously.
Team Principal Toto Wolff has stated that the German manufacturer was, “the biggest victim in terms of revenue loss”. This is in reference to the new financial arrangements proposed by Formula One.
There are three key areas that Mercedes feel that they have a particular issue with; legal, commercial, and sporting.
There is a deadline of August 12 for the German team to commit to Formula One, and with the Champions resigning Valtteri Bottas for another season at least, and talks believe to be either ongoing or starting soon with six-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes look like they are staying….as long as they get their way.
Mercedes are really trying to stand their ground and Wolff has stated that Formula One has not yet come to the negotiating table with a compromise, something that he hinted Mercedes would be open too.
The next deal will be crucial to the future of Formula One because if Mercedes pull out altogether and have no further involvement in the sport, there will be three teams without an engine for next year. McLaren is expecting to receive Mercedes next year as they aim to try and get back onto the podium on a more regular basis, with Williams and the newly rebranded Aston Martin, currently Racing Point using the team’s engines next year.
One of the big talking points from the new deal is the removal of the historic bonuses that teams get for how long they have been in the sport. Ferrari last season got an additional $170 million just for being in the sport for such a long time. Mercedes and Red Bull also received substantial bonuses, along with McLaren and Williams, however, these were nowhere near the same level as last season’s top three.
The bonus system will remain alive in some form, with the Scuderia receiving $40 million for their historical past, along with Mercedes, Honda, and Renault receiving $10 million as they supply engines for the other teams in Formula One.
If Mercedes did leave, and while that is very unlikely, anything is possible in Formula One, it would send shockwaves through the paddock. There is a very real possibility that only four teams fall off the grid, which would knock Formula One under the limit of cars required for a World Championship race.
It would also cause chaos in the transfer market with the likes of Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, and Lando Norris without a seat, making Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc favorites for the title.
While all of this is unlikely it is possible. Just take Silverstone last year who were hyping up their Grand Prix to be the last at Silverstone before announcing a new deal the day before the cars took to the track. If Mercedes do decide to leave, I do believe it will only be their works team with them continuing to provide engines. This would really close up the field, but given they have resigned Bottas they are here for the long term and are really just using their dominance at the front as a way to negotiate a better deal for them. It’s a bit like current Premier League Champions Liverpool threatening to leave as they want more TV money…although that’s what happened with the Premier League back in 1992 so we really can’t tell what will happen until F1 officially announces the teams signed up to the new deal.