Mercedes: Chemical giant Ineos to become a one-third shareholder in Formula 1 team

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Chemical giant Ineos is to become a one-third shareholder in the Mercedes Formula 1 team.

It will have an equal shareholding with Mercedes parent company Daimler and Toto Wolff, Mercedes motorsport boss and F1 team principal.

The move reduces Daimler’s shareholding from 60% and ups Wolff’s from 30%.

Wolff, in charge of Mercedes F1 operations since 2013, has signed a new contract and will remain team boss and chief executive for three more years.

The 48-year-old “will have the subsequent opportunity to transition to a new executive function within the organisation when he decides it is the right time to do so,” a statement said.

The statement added that Mercedes F1 would “remain the works team of Mercedes-Benz and will continue to race Mercedes chassis and power units in the coming years”.

Daimler chairman Ola Kallenius said Ineos’ decision to join forces with the Mercedes F1 team was “a sign of the strength of the organisation”.

Kallenius added: “We remain firmly committed to F1, and the forthcoming cost cap along with the new shareholding structure put us in an even stronger position for continued success.”

F1 has introduced a budget cap from next year, starting at $145m (about £107m) and reducing to $135m by 2023.

Ineos became a sponsor of Mercedes F1 at the start of this year, adding the team to its portfolio of sporting involvement that also includes a cycling team and an America’s Cup yachting programme.

Ineos chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe said: “When we entered F1 earlier this year, we chose to do so with a Mercedes team that had set new benchmarks, and since then we have been in discussions about how we could increase our involvement.

“This is a unique opportunity to make a financial investment in a team at the very top of its game, but which still has rich potential to grow in the future.”

Mercedes this year extended their record-breaking run to seven consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships, and Lewis Hamilton became the most successful racing driver in history by breaking Michael Schumacher’s all-time win record and equalling his tally of seven world titles.

The Briton is expected to sign a new contract with Mercedes to keep him at the team beyond this year.

Wolff’s initial contract with Mercedes expired at the end of this year and he had spent 2020 weighing up his options for the future.

He said: “This team is like a family for me. We have been through so many highs and lows together that I cannot imagine working with a better group of people in this sport – and I am very happy to continue together into this new era.

“This new investment from Ineos confirms that the business case for F1 teams is robust and sends an important signal of confidence in the sport after a challenging year.”

Reuters

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