Mercedes ready to sign new Formula 1 deal, says Toto Wolff

Mercedes Formula One boss Toto Wolff cast fresh doubt on his future on Friday while signalling that the champions were now prepared to sign a new deal with commercial rights holders Liberty Media.

The Austrian had said at Silverstone last week that Mercedes were not ready to sign a new `Concorde Agreement` covering the period from 2021 to 2026.

The window for signing opens on Tuesday with a final deadline of August 31.

“I have changed my opinion in Silverstone,” he said in a video news conference at the Spanish Grand Prix. “I don`t think that the teams will ever be united.

“Everybody tries to achieve some little deals outside, there is a blame culture in the media, so we have decided to move forward with Liberty.”

Wolff said he had “very constructive” talks with Formula One chief executive Chase Carey last weekend and most of the clarifications Mercedes had wanted to achieve had been discussed.

“I feel we are at a good point to sign the Concorde Agreement and move on,” he added.

Wolff, a shareholder in Mercedes F1, was more guarded on whether he would remain principal next year of a team that has won the last six drivers` and constructors` championships.

His future is closely linked to that of six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is out of contract at the end of the year but looks sure to stay.

“There are many factors that make me want to stay in Formula One,” said Wolff. “On the other side, it takes a toll and it plays into my consideration.

“As it stands, there is no reason not to continue with Mercedes and we will find out in which role.”

Pressed further, he said it came down to a discussion with Daimler chairman Ola Kaellenius over what was ultimately best for the team.

“I really enjoy the role and my plan is to continue but I never want to be in a situation that you will be coming from very good to good,” he added.

“I haven`t taken the decision yet, these are discussions that are ongoing and that are positive. I don`t want to give it a spin that I`m leaving because that is not the case.

“It`s just that I`m in a moment of reflection, where Formula One is heading, what is happening around COVID and also personal reasons.”

Wolff`s wife Susie is principal of the Venturi Formula E team and the couple have a three-year-old son. The Austrian said he had been to around 120 F1 races in the last eight years and “that is something we are thinking about.”

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Sagar Biswas

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