British chemical company Ineos has acquired one third of the shares in the Mercedes Formula One team from Mercedes’ parent company Daimler.
The world championship-winning team is now a third owned by Daimler (which reduced its shareholding from 60 percent), a third owned by Ineos and a third owned by team principal Toto Wolff, who increased his stake from 30 percent to 33.3 percent.
The news also ends months of speculation about Wolff’s future at the team after he committed to a further three years as team principal and CEO.
A statement confirmed the 48-year-old Austrian has the option to “transition to a new executive function within the organisation when he decides it is the right time to do so”.
Wolff has overseen all of the team’s seven consecutive world championships since 2014.
“I am pleased to begin this new chapter for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team,” Wolff said. “This team is like a family for me.
“We have been through so many highs and lows together that I cannot imagine working with a better group of people in this sport — and I am very happy to continue together into this new era.”The world championship winning Mercedes W11 has carried Ineos sponsorship all year. Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
The team will still race under the Mercedes name despite the new division of ownership, with a move towards more branding from the German car manufacturer’s performance division, AMG, next year.
Ineos joined Mercedes as a sponsor at the start of 2020 and will continue to have branding on the car next year alongside title sponsor Petronas.
“We are delighted to welcome Ineos to our Formula One joint venture as a fellow shareholder,” Daimler chairman Ola Källenius said.
“It is a sign of the strength of the organization in Brackley that we have been able to attract prestigious investors in Ineos, who see real potential for the future growth and development of the team.
“We remain firmly committed to Formula One, and the forthcoming cost cap along with the new shareholding structure put us in an even stronger position for continued success.
“With an even closer alignment to our Mercedes-AMG performance division beginning in 2021, and Toto’s continued leadership in the coming years, the future is bright for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One.”
Ineos owns the OGC Nice football team, the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team (formerly known as Team Sky) and is the main backer of the Ben Ainsile’s America’s Cup sailing team, known as Ineos Team UK.
“Big challenges are a core part of our mindset at Ineos and our involvement across a number of different sports demonstrates that we always aim for the very best,” Ineos chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe said. “When we entered Formula One earlier this year, we chose to do so with a Mercedes team that had set new benchmarks, and since then we have been in discussions about how we could increase our involvement.
“This is a unique opportunity to make a financial investment in a team at the very top of its game, but which still has rich potential to grow in the future. We could not wish for better partners than Mercedes-Benz, and a team of proven winners led by Toto.”
Source by www.espn.com