Wolff quashes report of Ineos buying Merc

LONDON • Petrochemicals giant Ineos has no interest in taking over Formula One champions Mercedes, team principal Toto Wolff said on Sunday in response to a media report.

The Mail on Sunday, quoting former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan, reported that British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe's company was close to signing a £700 million (S$1.2 billion) deal for motor sport's dominant team.

Jordan said the team would be called Ineos, with Mercedes retaining a 30 per cent share and Wolff, currently a shareholder, no longer in charge.

"People pick up bits and pieces and construct a story around it," said the Austrian when asked about the report at the Tuscan Grand Prix in Italy, where his drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, secured a one-two finish for the third time this season.

"(Mercedes parent) Daimler has no intent in giving up the team and Ineos has no interest in buying a majority of the team and calling it like this, and I have no reason to depart from my shareholding. So plenty of things that are made up.

"The future of the team is absolutely clear. It's the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team and nothing is going to change that."

Mercedes work with Ineos, a principal F1 partner, on a number of high-tech projects such as yachting's America's Cup and professional cycling.

Ineos became the owner of Britain's hugely successful Tour de France-winning Team Sky last year, changing the name to Ineos Grenadiers.

Its principal partnership with Mercedes in F1 is one rung below title sponsorship.

Wolff has yet to clarify his role with the Mercedes team for next year and beyond. He has hinted that he would likely remain with the British-based German outfit but could be in a different position.

Autosport previously reported that he could move to another role within the team that will give him more freedom not to attend races and allow him to better manage his time.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2020, with the headline 'Wolff quashes report of Ineos buying Merc'. Print Edition | Subscribe