With only 38 days until Brexit, Toto Wolff, team principal of reigning five-time world champions Mercedes, has predicted that a no-deal scenario could create the “mother of all messes” for Formula One.
Traditionally, the first day of winter testing in Barcelona is a moment of optimism and renewal, but Wolff made no attempt on Monday to disguise Brexit’s potentially devastating effects upon the sport. Mercedes, like most teams, has its operations spread throughout Europe, with a global headquarters in Stuttgart and two F1 hubs in Northamptonshire, relying upon ease of trading movement to make the system work.
Wolff fears, though, that this could all unravel if the UK leaves the European Union on March 29 without a deal.
“Brexit is a major concern for us, as it should be a major concern for all of us who live in and operate out of the UK,” he said. “We are F1 teams travelling to and from races 21 times a year. Our people are moving in and out of the country getting parts at the last minute, and any major disruption at borders or with taxes would massively damage the F1 industry in the UK. Our team is international, with 26 different nationalities, including many EU citizens, and there is uncertainty at the moment about how it is going to be affected. It is the mother of all messes.”