Interview

Interview | Im sure Vettel still has a lot to offer as a competent driver

Interview | I"m sure Vettel still has a lot to offer as a competent driver"

06-10-2020 13:00 Last update: 13:17
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There's currently a lot of talk about the future of Toto Wolff and Mercedes in Formula 1. It's still not known what Wolff’s plans are and rumours of selling the German team have only increased in recent weeks. GPBlog.com spoke to Christian Nimmervol, editor-in-chief of the German platforms at Motorsport-Total.com, Formel1.de and the German branch of Motorsport.com. Racing Point's choice to choose Sebastian Vettel instead of Sergio Perez is also discussed.

Much is said and written about Wolff's future. There seems to be three options for the 48-year-old Austrian. He can renew his contract as team principal, he can take a background position at Mercedes or he can switch to the Aston Martin F1 Team with his good friend Lawrence Stroll.

Wolff's negotiating position

“I'd rather not comment on Toto Wolff's future since only he himself knows what his future plans are. If I was in his position, I'd probably consider using the "Aston Martin Plan B scenario" to strengthen my negotiation position with Daimler when it comes to rating the value of my shares and the value of my personal contribution to the Mercedes F1 team. But that is just me", Nimmervoll says.

The German journalist expects that Wolff will eventually take a step back and hand over his job to someone else. "Since he recently indicated on Austrian TV that he is already looking for someone who could be suitable for his current role, I assume his position will change in the future one way or the other."

INEOS talks about Wolff and Lauda shares

Eddie Jordan recently announced that discussions are underway with INEOS about the sale of the team. He even mentioned the staggering amount of 700 million pounds. The factory team would then be sold to an investor and Mercedes will be an engine manufacturer in Formula 1

According to Nimmervoll, INEOS is very unlikely to take over the entire team, although he believes there are conversations ongoing with the British chemical company. "Mercedes doesn't even deny there are talks for bringing INEOS on board as an investor when asked, but insists Daimler is going to remain majority shareholder for the foreseeable future."

He continues: “Assuming this will prove to be true in the future, Daimler does not have a lot of room to sell shares since they currently hold 60% of the shareholding, and 50% plus one is what we generally understand as majority. Which indicates that the Ineos talks could involve the 30/10% shares of Toto Wolff and the Niki Lauda estate."

Logical choice for Stroll

Racing Point, which will be known as Aston Martin F1 Team next year, opted to sign Sebastian Vettel at the expense of Sergio Perez. A rather expensive move as it is reported that buying off Perez's contract cost several million euros. Moreover, Perez has perhaps performed more consistently than Vettel in recent years.

"I believe for a man like Lawrence Stroll who is trying to build a brand like Aston Martin it is a no-brainer to hire a four time world champion, both from a marketing as well as from a sporting point of view", explains Nimmervoll. "I am sure Seb still has a lot to offer as a competent driver, but dislikes the current Ferrari car."

Vettel should be able to do better in Otmar Szafnauer's team. The Aston Martin will most likely follow Mercedes' technological platform, and that is a platform with a stable rear end and a very balanced car overall. So my guess is we will see a very different Sebastian Vettel in a British Racing Green Aston Martin in 2021. And even if he is not performing as good as I expect, it is a chance for Lawrence Stroll's son Lance to shine against a former champion", he ended.

With thanks to Christian Nimmervoll
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