Toto Wolff is ‘tempted’ to sell Mercedes shares

The value of Toto Wolff's stake in Mercedes has increased by 60% since he purchased it in 2013 for €50 million.

Sky Sports reporter Craig Slater has heard from some “well-placed insiders” that some shareholders of various teams in Formula 1 have started to question if the sport has “peaked”, and whether it’s time to sell their share.

Thanks to Netflix docuseries ‘Drive to Survive’, the F1 has exploded in recent years across the pond, making the value of each team skyrocket.

For example, in 2013, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff became a one-third shareholder of the Silver Arrows, costing him €50 million.

Fast forward a decade, and his stake is worth more like €3 billion now, raising the question whether it’d be a good time to sell his share, given that the sport might’ve hit its peak.

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Slater thinks the likes of Wolff and Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll could be tempted to sell up, with Saudi Arabian oil giants Aramco having actually been linked to buying Stroll’s team.

It’s not just Aramco who seemingly aren’t fazed by paying an astronomical fee to have a greater presence in F1, as Andretti are doing all they can to enter an 11th team into the sport.

Of course, F1 could continue to grow which could make every team even more valuable, but that is seemingly a huge risk with Red Bull’s current dominance.

Many fans labelled 2023 as ‘boring’ because of how unbeatable Max Verstappen was, raising some questions if less viewers will tune in next season, if the Dutchman’s reign of superiority continues.

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Should this happen, then the value of the sport will likely decrease, given that less eyes will be on it.

This possibility could be enough to convince some owners to sell whilst F1 is as valuable as it is.

“One or two well-placed insiders have told me that maybe some ownership within Formula 1 have looked at the value of their team has increased and have asked the question, has the sport peaked?” Slater said on the Sky Sports F1 podcast. “Might this be not a bad time to kind of sell out?

“If you’re talking about Williams being sold for about £140million and now being worth towards maybe even a billion pounds, never mind dollars nowadays.

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“It’s interesting that [the] Andretti [family] have tried to get in, maybe would be put off by the price tag of buying a team. Are they good value to buy right now an F1 team? Why are the big sovereign wealth funds… and I suppose people are talking about [the rumours of] Aramco buying Aston Martin from Lawrence Stroll and paying top dollar for that.

“If you were Dorilton or Toto Wolff or Lawrence Stroll, who bought it via liquidation, yes, he paid off a lot of the creditors, but you’ve maybe paid a couple hundred million, or I think Toto paid 50million euros for his stake, it’s now worth three billion or whatever.

“Does that have its own incentive to sell, when in a few years you’ve made such a big gain, which is why I question, it must be quite tempting for some of these owners to maybe think about offloading it in the present climate, which is certainly benign compared to where it was a few years ago.”