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GP Week : Issue 40
Mercedes uncertain of F1 future? German car maker unable to commit to long-term future in Grand Prix racing Norbet Haug, Vice President of Mercedes Motorsport, admitted in Malaysia that the effects of recent scandals surrounding the McLaren Mercedes team had been a blow to the manufacturer and that, in the current financial crisis in which Mercedes is haemorrhaging a reported US $1 billion a month, the company may have to take a serious look at its continued participation in the World Championship. Haug’s comments came in response to a query from GPWeek M as to whether the current scandal, combined with the negative publicity ‘by association’ received by Mercedes through its major shareholding in the McLaren team (from 2007), could affect the company’s continued involvement in Formula 1, Haug was guarded, but honest. “Yeah it is a difficult time for all of us, the whole industry, that’s for sure,”he said. “Victories would be better than having discussion like these. But what I want to point out is that we have had some very positive influence [PR]. Monitoring what we get back worldwide we are the team with the most international television presence and so on. There have been lots of positives. “But we are clearly unhappy with the situation, as it is right now. Where we can help from a Mercedes side is to describe it in all openness. I think our team tries to be as open and accessible as possible. Yes, this is not a positive, but on the balance we have had a lot of positives for the money we are investing. “If you’re asking me ‘are we here for the next 10 years?’then everybody who is honest, and I am honest, cannot give you an answer about how the world, the car industry, the economical surroundings will develop. I hope it changes. It’s not easy for anybody but I hope it changes.” ERCEDES-BENZ, which currently supplies engines to three teams on the Formula 1 grid, is unable to guarantee its long-term commitment to Formula 1.