“Daimler has the goal to be prominent with 'green technology'. Does formula one fit? Would it be the right signal to step out of F1 now and instead concentrate on pollution-free propulsion technologies?” rhetorically asked Helmut Lense, member of the aforementioned board, to the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.
According to the same source, Mercedes would be more interested in remaining committed to Formula 1 merely as engine suppliers rather than works team. The German marque currently controls 40% of British team McLaren.
In addition to the financial difficulties Mercedes are confronting themselves with at the present time, one other thing that might trigger their quick exit from F1 would be a severe punishment from the World Motor Sport Council on April 29th.
The FIA is to judge the Woking-based team over the “lie-gate affair” and give a final verdict on the matter less than a week from now. As reported by British newspaper The Telegraph, a source within one of McLaren's big sponsors revealed “that if a disproportionately large penalty were given to McLaren on April 29 then the sponsor that I am associated with might leave.”
As confirmed by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone earlier this month, McLaren-Mercedes are looking at a potential race-ban penalty from the FIA for 2009, as this is the second big scandal McLaren have been involved in – and found guilty – in the last 3 years (following the spy-gate in 2007).