Mercedes CEO Ola Kallenius has quashed talk of an internal feud with team boss Toto Wolff and revealed the key factors that will make his company commit to Formula 1.
Amid discussions between teams and F1 bosses over a future Concorde Agreement from next year, there has been a winter of speculation about Mercedes’ ongoing commitment to grand prix racing.
Reports suggested that the German car manufacturer was ready to pull out, and that matters were not helped by Kallenius and Wolff not seeing eye-to-eye on matters.
But, at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Kallenius moved quickly to rubbish suggestions that he and Wolff were enemies.
“Well, not everything you read in the media is true,” he told Sky Sports F1. “Toto and I are very close. We speak quite often. I’m very happy to be here and support the team after all the hard work that they have done over the winter.”
Mercedes has yet to sign up to a new Concorde Agreement, but Kallenius says that F1’s push to reduce costs and become CO2 neutral in the future were key factors in him seeing it remain.
“I think there are two things that are very important for the future of Formula 1,” he said. “It’s on the one hand to reduce the cost basis, and a lot of work has gone into that.
“We have been instrumental in defining what that new cost basis should look like, which will make the sport more financially robust.
“The other thing is we have the best hybrid technology in the world in Formula 1. We can take that forward towards a CO2 neutral sport, all together.
“We have also presented a plan how we step-by-step will make this more sustainable. Those two things, financial sustainability and CO2 neutrality: that is a good future for F1 and Mercedes in F1.”
Mercedes is targeting a historic seventh consecutive F1 world drivers’ and constructors’ double in 2020 and produced a strong start at the delayed opener in Austria as Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position and the race win.
The German marque missed out on a perfect start after Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-second time penalty for clashing with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon, dropping him from second to fourth place.