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A third team could exit Formula E this year

Audi and BMW have already announced their departure

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Mercedes look close to leaving Formula E in the next few days, with an announcement to follow after joining the sport in 2019. 

It comes as two other manufacturers, Audi and BMW, have declared they too will bow out of the all electric championship. With Audi quitting in favour of developing new technology in the Dakar Rally, and BMW wanting to focus more on the production of electric vehicles. So why are Mercedes about to announce their departure?

Mercedes signed an option to delay the development of the car for the new Gen3 regulations which will come into force next season. Stating that they needed more “clarification” over the new rules, they have still not fully committed to the changes. They have also stated that they need “important details regarding the structure of the series”.

Top rookie Nyck de Vries - a successful start long in the making | FIA Formula E

Image Credit: Alistair Staley/LAT Images

Speaking to Autosport, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff  said: “If Mercedes were to leave, which we haven’t said, then, of course, you need to work on alternative strategies. We are in the sport not only because we guys like to compete and drive around in circles,”

“But it is mainly a marketing and communications platform,” he continued. “And therefore, like everything we do, is under constant evaluation in terms of the benefits that any platform is able to generate for Mercedes-Benz. Apart from the let’s say marketing value that it generates, it is about technology transfer and these two need to go hand in hand: technology and marketing,”

“This is why everything is permanently evaluated and is this really still contributing to where we see the brand?”

“Whatever we are going to see in terms of decisions, it’s never like 100% that we want to be out of that because we don’t like it anymore. [Nor is it] 100%, we love it – that’s why we’re going to stay in forever. It’s much more nuanced.”

If Mercedes announce their exit, there has been rumours mounting that Wolff could enter a private team and retain the team personnel, including Nico Rosberg’s former race engineer Tony Ross and  the ex-Renault F1 director Nick Chester. It has also been speculated that if Wolff were to run a private team, he could continue to use a Mercedes power unit.

Their driver Nick de Vries currently tops the driver standings with 95 points and a gap of just three points to Edoardo Mortara of Rokit Venturi Racing as they head into the finale at the Berlin E-Prix.

 

Headline Image: FIA Formula E

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