Mercedes is yet to confirm its long-term Formula E future and will not sign-up to Gen3 before today’s registration deadline.
Mercedes was expected to join Mahindra, DS Automobiles, Nissan and Porsche in committing to the new era which will see lighter cars, fast-charging pit-stops, 600kW of total regeneration and a power hike to 350kW.
But The Race can reveal that has not yet committed and discussions will stretch into April before a definite decision is made.
While late entries will be considered by the FIA beyond the official deadlines, the fact that Mercedes has not signed-up today means that it will not receive CAD data for the new-look cars so it can begin to prepare for the next rules set which is due to begin at the end of 2022.
Additionally, it cannot be allowed to have a representative at the Formula E technical working group meetings until it signs up.
It is believed that Mercedes is in a similar position to Jaguar which is also understood to have not signed up before today’s deadline. It is believed that similarly to Mercedes, that Jaguar will not communicate its decision until mid-April at the earliest.
Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team principal Ian James confirmed to The Race today that it is still in detailed negotiations with promoters and rights holder Formula E regarding several key points regarding the long-term direction of the world championship.
“We have had lots of internal discussions and meetings there’s been a lot going on over the last the last few weeks,” said James.
“We’re not in a position at the moment to take a final decision and we’ve actually made the call yesterday to postpone for a little while probably until mid-April when we’ll have another update again.”
James denied that the upcoming implementation of cost caps in Formula E was a sticking point for Mercedes. Indeed he described that these plans were “moving in the right direction.”
“That is one of the key elements for us making sure that that was going to come in and be structured in the right way. There’s still a huge amount of work to be done on that but we’re conscious that that’s also going to take a bit of time to get the detail sorted out.”
While James would not be pushed on any precise sticking points for the delay in signing up for the Gen3 era, it is known that some manufacturers have had concerns on specific outlines regarding the return on investment in Formula E for future seasons.
The Race revealed last November that Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E will re-structure its headquarters in 2021 and become permanently run from the UK, phasing out the involvement of the HWA operation which is headquartered in Affalterbach, southern Germany.
Speaking to The Race about the move Mercedes FE team principal, Ian James said the multi-site set-up of the team “made absolute sense to utilise that experience to get up and running in Formula E”, but having five different sites in two different countries “isn’t the most efficient set-up, if I’m honest.”
“That coupled with the other movements that are happening within Formula 1 at the moment, the cost cap, the restructuring that MGP is obviously going through meant that we have an opportunity over the next couple of years to strengthen synergies,” said James.