The current all-dominant Mercedes team could well have pulled out of Formula One after four years underwhelming years, reveals Daimler AG Chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche.
While Mercedes is now committed to the sport until 2020, Zetsche confirmed during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend that senior officials of the Mercedes parent company did discuss pulling the plug on the Formula One project – believed to have run up costs of £160 million in 2013 – after achieving just four wins across four years of racing – three of which came last year.
“There has to be an intelligent business decision and of course the motivation is marketing,” said Zetsche. “We want to present our brand and we do believe there is no better place to present the brand than in our core marketing in our core business, which is engines, cars and therefore racing.
“Still, you have to justify your spending and see that you get results. And for that reason we had to have discussions.
“That took place. There was not one person in the boardroom who was against racing, others who were in favour. But we had to discuss all aspects and make the right decision in the interests of our company shareholders.
“That’s where we came to the conclusion we’re not a company for the short-term; what we do, we do for the long-run.”
The Mercedes team has since reaffirmed the boards decision with a clean sweep of wins and poles from the first six races of this season, and looks set to secure the 2014 constructors’ championship with an advantage of 141 points over its nearest rival Red Bull after a fifth straight 1-2 finish at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The German marque returned to the sport as a full manufacturer in its own right in 2010 when it purchased Brawn GP, after an absence of 55 years without a works team.
Having made their first foray back into the sport in 1994 as an engine supplier to initially Sauber and then later McLaren, Zetsche confirmed that the new for 2014 hybrid engine regulations, which favour fuel efficiency, were a major attraction for Mercedes’ continued interest in Formula One.
“With the objective to save fuel, be efficient and have very high performance, that’s exactly what we have to do with our production cars and we use exactly the same technical components,” he added.
“That’s why it’s making even more sense with the regulations than in the past.”
Featured image courtesy of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS. Text image courtesy of Octane Photographic