Daimler AG chairman Dieter Zetsche has used the German press to call on more car manufacturers to back their own Formula One teams, with Audi and BMW getting a specific mention.
Daimler is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, which dominated this year’s Formula One championship like no team has in years, with its drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg placing 1-2 overall.
Now, Zetsche appears to be holding arms outstretched to any other car-makers keen to join the expensive but lucrative F1 circus, specifically its key German rivals in the premium marketplace.
“We share – and I’m talking about the premium business – about 80 per cent of the world market share with Audi and BMW,” Zetche told Sport Bild.
“Of course,” he added, “we greatly admire Red Bull and Ferrari and the other teams, nevertheless other manufacturer teams would be very much welcomed by us.”
New powertrain regulations for the 2014 seasons requiring cars to use extensive electrification were enacted partially to ensure that F1 technical development retained relevancy to the direction of regular road car development.
Most major car-makers are spending big R&D dollars on electrification in some form or another, and F1 is seen by many as a way to put cutting-edge developments to the test.
Zetsche went on to play down talk of F1 being in some form of crisis, considering cellar dwelling teams Caterham and Marussia both faced financial woes all year, though he did make an apparent dig at polarising F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
“It is absurd to say formula one is dead,” he said. “I cannot think of a more exciting season. All the criticism was led largely by those who were not successful.
“Most definitely we have not sufficiently exploited the potential of formula one, because the official channels of communication have not been used in a professional way.
“We are more committed than ever in contributing to professionalise the sport in this regard. Better engaging younger fans is a central question.”
This final point might refer to Ecclestone’s recent comments that he didn’t care if young people followed F1, because it was the older demographic that had the money his advertisers were after.
Finally, Zetsche put a line through a tilt at Le Mans — dominated in recent times by rival Audi — any time soon, saying: “A whole year working for 24 hours, we do not consider to be a good cost-benefit radio”.