Mercedes eyes partial F1 withdrawal for 2014 UPDATE #2 (GMM) Mercedes is right at the heart of swirling speculation under Singapore's lights.
And it's not all about Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
German sources Auto Motor und Sport, and the SID news agency, are reporting rumors the Stuttgart carmaker could withdraw from F1.
"Whilst the second driver is not named and the Concorde Agreement is not signed, it is normal that there are rumors," insisted Mercedes' Norbert Haug on Friday.
The big rumor is that Briton Hamilton is simply waiting on Mercedes to commit to the sport before also putting pen to paper.
"We would prefer to clarify the driver question sooner rather than later, but we've always said that we will make a joint decision, and this will probably be in October," said Haug.
That is a clear sign that Schumacher is intent on exercising the full power of his existing contract and options.
Haug, though, is not denying the Hamilton rumor.
"We need to think about our alternatives and options, otherwise you are not being prudent.
"And as long as the facts are not delivered, we have to live with the speculation," he added.
Schumacher, meanwhile, might not be pushed into retirement if Hamilton links up with Mercedes.
Peter Sauber told Auto Motor und Sport on Thursday that he would give the seven time world champion a lifeline.
"I think many teams would be willing to talk to Michael," the Swiss has now told Blick newspaper.
Dr Helmut Marko thinks Schumacher does indeed need to start shopping around.
"The thing about Hamilton and Mercedes is more than a rumor," the Red Bull official said in Singapore.
08/17/12 (GMM) More publications and sources are reporting rumors Mercedes could be looking to reshape its commitment to formula one.
|Only one win for the works Mercedes team|
The latest edition of the French weekly Auto Hebdo reported that, still yet to agree a new Concorde Agreement deal, the Stuttgart carmaker could field only a 'semi-official' team from 2014.
The report said the move, with Mercedes remaining an engine supplier but taking a more engineering rather than managerial focus, could see the Brackley based team rebadged as 'AMG', which is the German marque's high performance arm.
A similar story, reportedly due to "increasingly insistent rumors", is now being told by Italy's Autosprint.
That report said the 'AMG'-solution is a "compromise" in light of the Mercedes board of directors pushing hard for a full formula one withdrawal.
Autosprint said the directors are unsatisfied that, three seasons after the Brawn GP rebranding and the reunion of Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher, all Mercedes has to boast is Nico Rosberg's single win.
The report said the "greatest advocate" of the Mercedes GP project has been Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche, who will reportedly step down within a few months.
Also reporting that a "radical change" in Mercedes' F1 commitment is shaping up is French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet, who in his Auto Plus column cited a source who is "known for the veracity of his information".
That source said the matter will be finalized at Mercedes' next board meeting.08/14/12 (GMM) Mercedes is considering a partial withdrawal from formula one at the end of 2013, the French weekly Auto Hebdo is reporting.
The Stuttgart carmaker, still yet to agree a new Concorde Agreement deal with Bernie Ecclestone, reportedly could then field only a 'semi-official' team from 2014.
Mercedes would however continue to supply customer engines, as it does currently to McLaren and Force India, whilst its 'semi-official' works team might be known as 'AMG F1', Auto Hebdo said.
AMG is Mercedes' high-performance arm.
The magazine speculated that Brackley based AMG F1, currently known as Mercedes AMG, would continue to be run by team boss Ross Brawn, with Michael Schumacher in the cockpit.
But Mercedes would focus more strongly on engineering than team ownership and management, Auto Hebdo said.
It is likely F1's only engine suppliers in 2014 will be Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari, meaning they all could take on more customers for the new V6 rules.
Reasons cited for Mercedes' rumored change of direction are the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption scandal involving F1's chief executive Ecclestone, and the latter's push for Mercedes to make a long-term pledge to the sport.
Another reason mentioned is Mercedes' lack of success with its full works team since 2010, despite Nico Rosberg's breakthrough win from pole in Shanghai this year.