Since its return to Formula One on a full-time basis in 2010, Mercedes-Benz has sunk a considerable amount of money into the Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team (now the AMG Mercedes Petronas F1 Team) with very little to show for it.
Despite the success of the Mercedes-engined Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, Mercedes GP has failed to finish higher than fourth in constructor’s championship points, and has claimed only a single win in three years of competition.
That win came from driver Nico Rosberg at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix; despite his seven world championships, Michael Schumacher has had only a single podium finish (a third place at this year's European Grand Prix) since returning to the sport. While Schumacher has qualified well, he’s retired early from six of the 11 races run in the 2012 season so far.
Now comes word from Speed TV that Mercedes may pull back from Formula One competition in 2014, fielding just a single car for driver Michael Schumacher. Even the name Mercedes would be dropped from the team, which would reportedly campaign as the AMG F1 team under the direction of Ross Brawn.
Mercedes GP has yet to sign a new Concorde Agreement with F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone, which could prohibit it from fielding an “official” factory team in 2014. The brand may be pushing back at Ecclestone, who expects Mercedes-Benz to make more of a long-term commitment to the sport of Formula One.
Such a move would not impact any deals Mercedes has with existing teams to supply engines. As the F1 engine rules will change for 2014, only Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari are likely to continue building engines for F1.