Mercedes’ team and car will “always” bear its name despite plans to intensify performance brand AMG’s presence, as Daimler reaffirms its longer-term commitment to Formula 1.
The championship-winning team has repeatedly refuted speculation it is set to sell up and leave F1, which would reduce Mercedes’ presence only to that of an engine supplier.
It reaffirmed its commitment by signing up to the new Concorde Agreement defining commercial terms for F1 until 2025, and again last week when Mercedes-Benz’s corporate strategy was revealed.
One element that is set to change is the so-called “intensification” of sub-brand AMG’s link to the F1 team.
AMG has been represented in the team name for several years so this is expected to be reflected in terms of greater on-car branding and marketing of technology transfer as the AMG division electrifies its output from 2021.
However, Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff indicated this is not a ‘soft’ exit from Daimler’s main brand because the team will continue as Mercedes – unlike Renault, which is rebranding its works team completely in niche sub-brand Alpine’s name and image.
“I think it lies in the DNA of Mercedes to race,” said Wolff when asked by The Race whether Mercedes could reduce or lose its own F1 presence to AMG.
“The first-ever Mercedes was a race car, and we build road cars and we build race cars.
“But the new strategy going forward is to give the sub-brands larger marketing platform and it’s AMG, EQ, it’s Maybach. And I think it’s good that each of those brands get a specific touch.
“AMG is our high-performance brand. Formula 1 cars are high-performance cars.
“The Mercedes name is not going to be dropped from Formula 1. On the contrary, it’s always going to be a Mercedes.
“The chassis is always going to be a Mercedes. The team name is always going to be Mercedes. And we are all Mercedes people.
“But in addition to that, we are also AMG. We represent AMG as a high performance brand, and we want to increase the visibility of AMG, which exists today.
“There is technology transfer between the companies. But just give it more marketing exposure and showcase technology transfer that happens between AMG and the Mercedes Formula 1 team.”
Manufacturer commitment to F1 has been brought to the foreground following Honda’s decision to leave at the end of 2021.
The Japanese company has decided it needs to redirect its financial and technical resources from F1 to its automotive projects, as it feels it has fallen behind rivals in electrification and needs to accelerate development in areas of new engine and fuel technology.
However, F1’s other manufacturers believe the championship remains a relevant deployment of resource with its V6 turbo-hybrid engines and incoming sustainable fuels.
Wolff said that F1 will continue to be a worthwhile technical exercise but reiterated his view that the next-generation engines in 2026 need to be championed properly and be more sensible in terms of cost.
“I believe we are not telling the hybrid story well enough,” he said.
“With 50% thermal efficiency and complexity and technology that exists in these cars, with the energy recovery with kinetic energy or exhaust gases, the batteries that we’re using and the technology within them.
“We are a pretty good showcase for hybrid technology. And the next generation of power units, whatever they come up [with], will have even more sustainable energy recovery and sustainable propulsion systems in the future.
“We know now that we have to look at the costs, we don’t want to make the same mistake that we are purely engineering-driven like these power units but make sure that we have something innovative, sustainable, powerful, fuel-efficient, and at a reasonable price.”