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Mercedes prepared to follow Ferrari to F1 exit, Wolff claims

Written by  Nov 30, 2017

Mercedes would be prepared to follow Ferrari's lead and pull out of Formula 1 after 2020 if they disagree with the direction being taken by owners Liberty Media, according to Motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

The two top manufacturers have become very close on the political side of the sport and their disgruntlement began in the wake of initial engine proposals put forward for 2021 with the aim of cheaper, louder and simpler units compared to those used currently and since 2014.

However, that didn't sit well with Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne, who issued a threat to quit, and now Wolff has also upped the ante insisting the engines used in F1 must fit with what the sport's history

“Such a scenario is quite conceivable. Just as it is for Ferrari,” the Austrian was quoted by PlanetF1 about whether Mercedes could also leave. “Everything Marchionne says must be taken seriously.

“F1 must remain the pinnacle of technology and the best competition and if you dilute this message with standard specifications and false situations that penalise the best and help the weakest, I think that’s not our DNA.

“If we do not see what F1 stands for, then we have to ask ourselves the difficult question: not if but where do we want to operate in motorsport at the highest level?”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has backed Liberty and insists such claims are political bluster, however, the issue goes further than just engines with the new leadership, led by CEO Chase Carey, targeting the power of the manufacturers with a leveller financial playing field through budgets caps and equality in revenue distribution.

The changes and investment Liberty has made into F1 this year have also led to the first drop in revenue available to teams from the commercial rights holder, however, with Wolff questioning if the American owners know where they are going.

“Doing erratic actions like Michael Buffer in Austin does not make the sport any better,” he snapped to Germany’s Kronen Zeitung, referring to the driver introductions before the race.

“We do not see any vision. Nobody knows where the journey is going. All we know now is that sales and profits have fallen sharply.”

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