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Mercedes to stay in F1 even if electric plans don't align

The Mercedes road car division are set to focus on producing only electric cars from 2030 onwards. In line with this, the brand hope that F1 will continue with its decarbonisation efforts.

Mercedes are set to remain in Formula 1 even if the sport does not align with their own aim to produce only electric cars by 2030. The Silver Arrows have been a dominant force for much of their time in F1 since returning to the grid as a manufacturer in 2010, having achieved eight consecutive Constructors' Championships, along with seven Drivers' titles. The 2022 season has not been quite as successful so far for the team, though. They currently sit third in the Constructors' rankings on 95 points, 56 points behind Red Bull in second and 62 adrift of leaders Ferrari, and continue to struggle with issues on their car.

Mercedes-Benz CEO praises F1's steps forward

Away from the Formula 1 world, the Mercedes car division have stated that they will only invest in fully electric architectures from 2025, and plan to sell only electric cars from 2030 where market conditions allow. As such, Ola Kallenius, the CEO of the Mercedes-Benz Group, is pleased to see the steps that F1 has taken towards decarbonisation. "[As a company] we have decided to go towards this journey of decarbonisation - it's the only decision that you can make - and the same goes for Formula 1," Kallenius said, speaking at a Financial Times seminar. "The next powertrain regulations that we will have will put much more significance on the electrical side – and there is a clear commitment to making Formula 1 CO2 neutral. "For the next set of regulations, the electrical piece of the lap time will increase. There will still be a combustion engine, but it will be used as a lab to develop CO2-free fuels, which will be needed certainly by the aviation industry, but maybe to lower the output of the existing car park too."

Battery technology "not there yet" in F1

Kallenius added that Formula 1 is not yet in a place where it could rely solely on electric energy. "We are not yet at a point where you can run a race like we had in Abu Dhabi with the energy from a battery only," he explained. "A sport like Formula 1 needs to put on a show, so the path has to be one of decarbonisation. The battery technology is not there yet. "But going CO2-free, with a higher emphasis on electrification, ensures the sport remains very relevant and we will stay to race." Kallenius would not be drawn on whether there might be a future union between F1 and electric series Formula E, adding: "I don't want to speculate about that. All I know is that Formula 1 will always remain the pinnacle of motorsports."

Mercedes happy to be "part of the show"

In terms of what is driving Mercedes' continued involvement in the sport, Kallenius pointed to the impact of Netflix show Drive to Survive in attracting a wider audience. "It's growing significantly, especially in the younger demographics," he said. "The Netflix Drive to Survive series has been a game changer in that. We're happy to be part of that show and be one of the forces in Formula 1, exploiting it both for our technological development but also for marketing. "As far as we're concerned, the sport is going to have a bright future." Kallenius has also spoken of how the team bounced back from the disappointment of Lewis Hamilton losing out on a possible eighth World Championship at last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. "It was extremely emotional," the CEO commented. "You go from hope to despair inside seconds sometimes in sports. But that's the thing about sports. You take a hit but you stand up again. "As a competitor, you go back out onto the track again and continue to fight."

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