TOTO Wolff wants Channel 4 Formula 1 pundit Eddie Jordan to stop repeating what he calls “fake news” about the future of Mercedes in grand prix racing.
Jordan has consistently expressed doubts about Mercedes’ long-term commitment to owning a works team, and has suggested that major sponsors will be leaving soon.
During last week’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend he speculated that the Chinese consortium that plans to enter F1 could end up buying the Brackley team, which had previous lives as BAR, Honda and Brawn before becoming Mercedes in 2010.
Wolff is upset because Jordan’s comments have planted doubts in the minds of employees of both the race team and the Mercedes engine facility in Brixworth.
“I told him I’m ready for any banter,” said Wolff.
“But for me, I stop laughing when it’s about making jokes on the back of 1500 employees that care about their future.
“And I said it in an interview with him, that this is a too serious a topic for me.
“We are not leaving F1, none of our sponsors is leaving F1, we are pretty happy where we are.
“And he should just stop putting these rumours – fake news – out in the world.”
Jordan remains adamant that Mercedes will withdraw from F1 if it feels it is getting enough benefit from its investment.
“I’ve never said they will pull out,” Jordan told Autosport.
“I’ve said Mercedes are in the business for marketing and technical reasons, they are not in the business of love.
“And they will go when it suits them.
“I don’t think I said what the right time is.
“What I said is 2018 is when the contracts with [major sponsors] UBS and Petronas run out.
“I can understand why he’s angry with that, but that’s not my concern. That’s life.
“It’s going to come out sometime. If I say it, I’m convinced.
“Look at it the other way. He’s talking about 1500 people, I’m talking about thousands and thousands of [Daimler AG] shareholders.
“Having been on many boards, the board members are the people who will make that decision.
“In my opinion they will do what suits the company best.
“If they can find that the return for the investment is no longer justified, they’re gone – gone as a works team.
“Where do you think Mercedes came from? And where’s Toyota gone?
“They’ll keep the engine department, that’s for sure.”
Jordan added that he will always speak his mind in his TV role.
“There are too many people too worried about whether they can go into someone’s motorhome or not,” he said.
“I’m in the job of reporting what I know. That’s what I’ll do, and no one is going to shut me up.
“If it’s complete crap and not one cent of it is true, then of course they should say that.”