|Toto Wolff dismisses rumor|
(GMM) Toto Wolff has slammed reports Mercedes intends to suddenly quit formula one at the end of 2018.
A leading specialist outlet had reported the news that in the wake of the German giant's title successes in the new 'power unit' era, Mercedes will pull out altogether after the 2018 season.
But Speed Week quotes team chief Wolff as saying at Hockenheim that the reports "border on idiocy".
"This is pure nonsense," he added.
And Wolff was also quoted by Germany's Auto Bild as saying: "This rumor must have come from Mars."
What the Austrian would admit at Hockenheim is his disdain for the never-ending controversy about 'track limits', with drivers penalized for creeping too far beyond the white lines and curbs that delineate the track.
"I say 'Let the drivers go!' If they are pushing the limits over the curbs, it just makes for thrilling TV pictures.
"My personal preference is that if a driver is off the track then he is stuck in a gravel bed or in the wall. But if we have asphalt there, then it is just the nature of the drivers to use it.
"Like this, we cannot be surprised if we have fewer and fewer spectators," he added.
07/28/16 Manufacturers come and go in Formula 1, so it's fair to assume that Mercedes will depart at some stage – with the big question being 'when?' Connect the various dots, and it seems exit may come sooner rather than later writes Dieter Rencken of Autosport
Between the re-signing of Nico Rosberg's contract and Lewis Hamilton's admission that he pressured FIA race director Charlie Whiting over his team-mate's possible yellow-flag infringement during qualifying in Hungary, an interview was requested with Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff to allow him to comment on rumors that the company would withdraw from team ownership at the end of 2018.
The request was not granted, with the team stating: "Please feel free to say that the company declined the opportunity to comment on a story that it regards as very creative speculation!" However, investigating if there is any credibility to the speculation, a raft of factors indicate that Mercedes could exit F1 at the end of 2018 – if not totally, then as a team owner, with the engine operation continuing until the conclusion of the current technical regulations, which expire at the end of '20.
Intriguingly, no fewer than four vital Mercedes contracts expire during the 2017-19 period, with both drivers signed up to the end of '18. As a senior paddock figure pointed out in Budapest: "It is highly unusual among major teams for two driver contracts to expire simultaneously, particularly given that [Rosberg] pushed for a three-year deal, which would have taken him through to '19. Very strange." More at Autosport