By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mercedes Benz Cars Middle East CEO Thomas Klein said that the firm sees it as far more than a technical exercise
German automobile manufacturer Mercedes Benz sees Formula One as an important “brand shaper” for the company and opportunity to improve its visibility among potential customers, according to Thomas Klein, the CEO for Mercedes Benz Cars Middle East.
Earlier this F1 season, 34-year old British superstar Lewis Hamilton already secured a sixth World Driver’s Championship for the ‘Silver Arrows’ of Mercedes, which also won the sport’s Constructor’s Championship.
“It’s a development tool, of course, but little of what we develop in F1 cars will reach street cars,” Klein told Arabian Business in an interview. “F1 is an epic brand shaper for us as a company.”
To prove his point, Klein pointed to a recent encounter he had with Toto Wolff, the 47-year old Austrian investor and former driver who serves as team principle and CEO of the Mercedes team.
“I asked him what was the ‘purpose’ that he was able to instil in this F1 team,” Klein recalled. “It’s about making the star shine brighter than ever before. The way we do that is by winning championships, but the spirit is that we want to be a brand shaper for Mercedes.”
This weekend, the Merrcedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team made its debut at the Formula E Grand Prix, with one of its team members, former F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne, finishing in third position on the podium.
Klein, however, said it was too early whether Formula E would have any substantive impact on Mercedes Benz electric vehicles.