A stream of breaking news and rumours has been rocking the boat in the F1 paddock over the last two weeks. Sebastian Vettel not renewing with Ferrari was the one who started the domino, whose progression is still ongoing. As Renault currently stands on the lookout to replace Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas has been linked to the French team with Toto Wolff reportedly approving such a move. However, Mercedes’ current team boss might be yet another big fish upsetting the market in F1.
According to German media outlets Auto Bild Motorsport and F1-Insider.com, Wolff is on the verge of resigning from his operational role of the team after the end of his contract and switch to the team's supervisory board.
Persistent rumours had previously pictured Toto Wolff joining Aston Martin as a member of the executive board, after purchasing a 4.77% stake as part of a ‘personal financial investment in an automobile manufacturer that has nothing to do with F1’.
Further speculations were then doused by AMG boss Tobias Moers, one of the closest confidants of Daimler CEO Ola Källenius, stepping in at Aston Martin as its new CEO earlier this week.
However, there is more brewing regarding Mercedes’ future in F1. As Wolff remarked, his role is not the only matter to sort out in Stuttgart. "It's not just about whether I am now extending my contract as team leader, but what we are going to do with this joint company."
The idea of an exchange transaction could come into play so that Daimler can increase its stake in Aston Martin. Discussions regarding the potentialities of this trade are still ongoing. Hence, Daimler would receive Aston Martin shares in return for shares from Stroll in the F1 team. The scenario would therefore see Wolff and Stroll as the principal owners of Mercedes – the Austrian currently owns 30% of the shares in Mercedes’ F1 team, with the Daimler group possessing the rest.
WHAT GOES AROUND COMES BACK AROUND
Sources consider it unlikely that Stroll will secure control of shares in the Daimler factory team and at the same time continue its commitment to Racing Point in the long term. Offering Racing Point for sale is an option and a potential buyer could be a familiar face, Russian businessman Dmitry Mazepin. F2 driver Nikita’s father is still looking to find a way into F1, having previously vied for the purchase of Racing Point (Force India at that time). Mazepin even sued Force India's insolvency administrator back in 2018, after the Stroll deal for believing to have made a better offer than Stroll.
The switch could be flipped in the next few weeks, with Mercedes possibly quitting F1 in its current form from 2021 already. In fact, Racing Point has entered F1 under the name of Aston Martin in 2021, as an official Companies House document published on May 20th shows, but there is no money supporting the agreement. Therefore, the hypothesis of Aston Martin controlled by Daimler transferring its licence to the current Mercedes AMG team does not seem too far fetched, as things currently stand.