Penske dismisses Mercedes F1 buyout speculation

Image by Steven Tee/LAT

Penske dismisses Mercedes F1 buyout speculation

Formula 1

Penske dismisses Mercedes F1 buyout speculation


Roger Penske has firmly dismissed a report linking him with a potential purchase of the Mercedes Formula 1 team.

A speculative report in German media suggested Penske was one of two suitors — the other being Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, who’s son Nikita has been carrying out a private test program with Mercedes — interested in taking over the championship-winning team should Daimler decide to quit F1 in 2021.

Such speculation was already questionable given Penske’s recent acquisition of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series, and when asked for comment on Mercedes he told RACER’s Robin Miller the report is “absolutely not true, and my plate is full.”

RACER understands Mercedes is not currently for sale, but all of the teams face slightly uncertain futures in F1 while new commercial agreements are negotiated with the sport’s owners. Toto Wolff’s absence from this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix can be attributed in part to those discussions, as well as to an intense travel schedule that will see him in Saudi Arabia for Mercedes’ debut in Formula E next weekend.

Haas F1 principal Guenther Steiner this week admitted teams will not be confirming their futures in the sport until the agreements are finalized, as to do so would weaken their negotiating positions.

Mercedes has won the last six consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships, and Daimler and Mercedes-Benz chairman Ola Kallenius recently restated the automaker’s commitment to F1.

“With regard to Formula 1, I think having won six championships in a row — which is a historic achievement — has been an activity that, in terms of our marketing and branding strategy, has paid off handsomely,” Kallenius said.

“Regardless if you’re a Formula 1 fan or not, you have to look at these marketing investments in a rational way. We weigh all of our marketing and media investments in terms of what’s the reach, what’s the impact, and what does it cost for us to invest?

“If you use the Nielsen method to measure the media value of our Formula 1 activities they are north of 1 billion Euros ($1.1B) per year, so an extreme reach and impact from this activity. The costs — which we would not like to disclose publicly — are probably surprisingly low because one must never forget that you both have a cost side and a revenue side in Formula 1. So as we sit here today we’re committed.”