F1 Monaco Grand Prix: Mercedes seriously discussed leaving Formula One before going on to dominate 2014 season

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have claimed every pole and race victory this season but the marque considered leaving the sport in recent years

Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche has confirmed top-level discussions were held over whether to pull Mercedes out of Formula One.

In Mercedes' fifth season in F1, following a buy-out of title winners Brawn GP at the end of 2009, the team is now finally at the top of the sport's tree following a dominant start to this campaign.

Such success has resulted in the announcement in Monaco on Saturday of a new multi-year, multi-million pound title sponsorship agreement with Malaysian oil and gas giant Petronas.

But the early years in particular were tough for Mercedes, even with seven-times champion Michael Schumacher as one of their drivers, and there was talk the Daimler board considered pulling the plug.

 

Zetsche, however, maintains it was always Daimler's intention to stay in F1 for the long haul, and they have now signified their intent with the new contract with Petronas, understood to run to the end of the current decade.

"Racing is our hobby, but beyond all emotion it has to be an intelligent business decision, and of course the motivation is marketing," explained Zetsche.

"We want to present our brand, and we believe there is no better place to do that than in our core business, which is engines, cars and therefore racing, so that's us.

"Still, you have to justify your spending, and for that reason we had to have independent discussions about the pros and cons, and they took place.

"There was not one person in the board against racing and others who were in favour, but we had to discuss all aspects and make the right decision in the interests of the company and our shareholders.

"That's where we always came to the conclusion we are not a company for the short run, but for the long run, and when we are not successful we work harder to become successful.

"That's true in our core business, that's true in racing.

"Ultimately there was never a conflict or a battle in the board, but after discussing all pros and cons we always came to the conclusion we would continue.

"We are still here, and we are all satisfied we took the right decision."

In claiming all five pole positions, all five race wins, and four consecutive one-two finishes, there is now grumbling Mercedes have made the sport even more boring than during Red Bull's recent four-year run of success.

Zetsche, however, counters - as Red Bull often did as they won title after title - that it is up to their rivals to close the gap, not for Mercedes to ease off the gas.

"First of all we've had four years in a row of one team winning the championship," he said. "Now we are talking about five races where one team has won.

"I've heard less comments after four years about boring racing than I heard after five races.

"But it's very clear we have two top-notch drivers who, after two hours of racing, are within a fraction of a second, which is unbelievable.

"We saw in Bahrain especially, and not only there, there is fierce, extreme fighting between these two drivers for the number one position.

"That in itself is a lot of excitement, which for me is sometimes more than I can bear, but also for other people watching as well.

"On top of that we have a lot of other position changes within the other teams.

"Last but not least, it's not our task to take that issue on. It's the task of our competition. We will not try to help them.

"We are aware others will try to reduce and close the gap, but we will not support that effort."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all