Toto Wolff announces ‘unusual’ Mercedes deal with ‘family’

Mercedes have a long-standing relationship with their title sponsor.

Mercedes will embark on a new relationship with their name partner, Petronas, from the 2026 season.

New technical regulations are coming into force in four years, which will see engines powered by sustainable fuel.

This fuel is synthetic, and it is carbon neutral, so it does not emit any more carbon than the amount used to create the fuel in the first place.

The new concept is what has attracted German manufacturers, Porsche and Audi, who would like to champion sustainable power, and the clean slate of regulations will allow them to start on the front foot in 2026.

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Mercedes have been working with Petronas since their return to Formula 1 in 2010, with the Malaysian oil and gas company.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, Petronas was also the title sponsor of the Malaysian Grand Prix before it left the calendar in 2017, and it has embarked on a number of initiatives in recent years that aim to make for a more sustainable world.

These projects have often featured Mercedes’ drivers, with Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Sir Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and George Russell all appearing as the face of the partnership over the last 12 years.

In 2026, the two parties will have a different sort of partnership, as Petronas will be supplying Mercedes with sustainable fuel, so will have a greater, and more profound, influence. 

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Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, commented on the particularly early timing of the announcement.

“Today we are doing something a little bit unusual – announcing a partnership that will begin in four years’ time,” he said in a statement.

“This sends an important message: our team and Petronas are no longer just partners, we are family, and we will be one team for many more years to come. 

“From 2026, advanced sustainable fuel will be at the heart of F1 performance – and this gives us a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate our expertise in this domain, through both the power unit and Petronas Fluid Technology Solutions. 

“We are excited to be racing into the future alongside Petronas, with the ambition to set the standard once again, in our on-track performance and by pioneering the transition of a global sports team to a net-zero future.”

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The Silver Arrows have been struggling for form so far in 2022, with the latest raft of regulations proving problematic for their W13 car.

Neither Hamilton nor Russell have won a race yet this year, but improvements have been gradually arriving as the season has gone on, and they have now achieved 13 podium finishes between them.

The German side are third in the championship, 35 points behind Ferrari going into the final six rounds of the year.