Daimler positioning to pull Mercedes F1 team after 2020?

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New media reports in Germany are suggested Daimler is considering pulling the Mercedes works team at the end of 2020.

Throughout this year, speculation has been rumbling over what form the participation of the German manufacturer will take, whether it continues as is right now, or opts to sell the Brackley-based operation and stay solely as an engine supplier.

At the heart of the original rumours was Daimler's drive to cut costs and Mercedes' unhappiness at the regulations changes coming to F1 across 2021 and 2022, including a $145m budget cap.

A bigger factor now though is the impact of the coronavirus, which will see the revenue Mercedes receives from Liberty Media plummet and has had a major impact on the economic situation in just a couple of months.

For that reason, Motorsport-Total.com is claiming the works team won't be continuing post-2020 and has cited reports by F1-Insider.com and Auto Bild as linking Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll as a likely buyer.

As for current Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, those sources are also reporting the Austrian may confirm next month his departure from that position when his contract expires after this year, but will stay on as an advisor, much like former non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

Statements from Daimler on both topics have of course denied the rumours, as you would expect, but with Mercedes waiting to start talks with both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, it does suggest something is going on behind the scenes.

InsideRacing has also spoken to our sources on the matter, and the response was the new reporting is likely legitimate but nothing has been confirmed by Daimler or Wolff at this time.

As for our own theory, which is only a theory, should the Mercedes works team be put up for sale, it would make sense for new principal partner INEOS to be interested.

The company, owned by billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has history is purchasing top sports teams such as Team Sky in cycling and teamed up with legendary sailor Sir Ben Ainslie to challenge fo the America's Cup sailing the INEOS Team UK.

An INEOS takeover would also allow Wolff to leave Mercedes but stay on at a team where he owns a 30 per cent stake.

As for the Lawrence Stroll speculation, the Canadian already has his focus on Racing Point, which will become Aston Martin from next year.

And though it's true Aston and Daimler are partners, it's unlikely he would want to own two teams, even if taking over Mercedes could secure his son Lance a top seat on the grid.

We'll have to wait and see how this unfolds in the coming months.