Fry: Merc can aid F1 flotation
Nick Fry believes if Formula One is to successfully float on any stock exchange, it requires Mercedes on board.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is lining up a listing, likely to take place in Singapore at some stage later this year, which could see the sport valued in the region of £6billion.
Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull have broadly agreed to the terms of a new Concorde Agreement with Ecclestone, and are all guaranteed seats on a new board that will come with a float.
Mercedes have so far been marginalised, not only over the new Concorde Agreement - the commercial pact that binds the teams, the FIA and rights holders CVC Capital Partners - but also as they have no place on the board.
Ecclestone's argument is that although Mercedes have been an engine supplier since 1984, the current campaign is only their third as a team in their own right since 1955, and as such they do not deserve the same rights as the likes of Ferrari and McLaren.
Ecclestone's remarks are understood to have caused a storm among the Mercedes hierarchy in Stuttgart, with Mercedes F1 chief executive Fry today adding fuel to the fire amid speculation the manufacturer could pull out of the sport if a deal with Ecclestone is not forthcoming.
"The mindset is, absolutely in capital letters, Mercedes-Benz wishes to be in F1," Fry said.
"I would add F1 also needs Mercedes-Benz. It is one of the top-20 brands globally, is one of the few car manufacturers in F1, it is an engine supplier to three teams.
"It can attract brands like Starwood Hotels [a new partner confirmed today], a huge American company that takes these decisions very seriously.
"I think Mercedes wants to be in F1, F1 definitely needs Mercedes and F1 definitely would be much the poorer if Mercedes was not a participant.
"I am completely convinced in my mind that if CVC wish to sell some or all of F1, the value they can derive from that would be severely diminished if Mercedes was not a participant."
However, when asked how far advanced are the talks between Mercedes and Ecclestone, Fry replied: "Discussions continue, but progress is not as strong as I would like."
In terms of a short-term solution, Fry suggested: "If CVC wish to float F1, I think they need this resolved fairly quickly - possibly more than we need it resolved."