LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One champions Mercedes sent a statement of intent about their future on Monday with the announcement of a five-year principal sponsorship deal with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s petrochemicals giant Ineos.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff hailed a new chapter for a team who have won the last six drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles with Lewis Hamilton chasing his seventh career crown this season.
Formula One is entering a new era in 2021 and the teams, including Mercedes, have yet to sign a new agreement with U.S.-based commercial rights holders Liberty Media beyond this year.
“We are in this for the long term,” Wolff told reporters at a news conference at London’s Royal Automobile Club.
“We like the platform but at the same time we are in negotiations with the rights holders and things need to be sorted out.
“But the partnership is clearly something that indicates our wish to continue our successful journey in Formula One,” added the Austrian.
The principal partnership represents the latest sporting investment by a company already involved in running, sailing, cycling and soccer.
Mercedes already had a ‘performance partnership’ with the company, working with the Team Ineos cycling outfit and Olympic yachtsman Ben Ainslie’s INEOS TEAM UK in a challenge for sailing’s America’s Cup in 2021.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)
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