Roger Penske says Mercedes buyout rumour 'absolutely not true'
Roger Penske has called rumours that he is looking at buying the Mercedes Formula 1 team "absolutely not true".
A report in Germany has linked the 82-year-old American businessman with the team amid confirmation from Mercedes that it has yet to decide its future in F1 post-2020.
Whilst Toto Wolff believes Mercedes will remain, it's a decision that will ultimately be taken by parent company Daimler AG and hangs on the agreement of a new commercial deal with F1 owner Liberty Media, which none of the teams have yet to sign.
Therefore speculative reports have linked Penske, among others, with taking an interest in the Mercedes team, which has claimed six back-to-back championships during its recent domination of the sport.
However Penske, who just last week acquired IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, denied the report when speaking to RACER's Robin Miller: "Absolutely not true, and my plate is full," he said.
Despite reports Daimler is looking to save €1 billion a year, it's not thought its F1 programme is under threat from the cuts as last year it made a £13m profit, despite spending more than £310m.
It's involvement also brings with it substantial marketing value, which Daimler and Mercedes-Benz chairman Ola Kallenius revealed to be worth more than €1bn annually.
"I think having won six championships in a row — which is a historic achievement — has been an activity that, in terms of our marketing and branding strategy, has paid off handsomely," he said during a recent investor call.
"Regardless if you’re a Formula 1 fan or not, you have to look at these marketing investments in a rational way. We weigh all of our marketing and media investments in terms of what’s the reach, what’s the impact, and what does it cost for us to invest?
"If you use the Nielsen method to measure the media value of our Formula 1 activities they are north of 1 billion Euros ($1.1B) per year, so an extreme reach and impact from this activity. The costs — which we would not like to disclose publicly — are probably surprisingly low because one must never forget that you both have a cost side and a revenue side in Formula 1. So as we sit here today we’re committed."
The ownership of the Mercedes team is split between three shareholders; Daimler AG (60%), Wolff (30%) and the late Niki Lauda (10%).