Mercedes’ George Russell in action during the Brazilian Grand Prix at Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 13, 2022. — Reuters pic
LONDON, Nov 14 — The collapse of crypto exchange FTX has left Formula One partners Mercedes in “utter disbelief” and the sector needs regulation, team principal Toto Wolff said.
Mercedes suspended the partnership last week, removing FTX branding from their cars and other assets ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on Friday after a week of seeing customers pull assets and market leader Binance abandoning a rescue offer.
Speaking to reporters on a video call after Mercedes finished one-two in the race at Interlagos, Wolff said he remained convinced of crypto’s relevance and believed in blockchain.
“But this situation is very unfortunate. We considered FTX because they were one of the most credible and solid, financially sound partners that were out there,” he said.
“And out of nowhere we can see that a crypto company can basically be on its knees and gone (in) one week. That shows how vulnerable the sector still is.
“It’s unregulated and I believe it needs to find its way into regulations because there’s so many customers, investors and partners like us that have been left in utter disbelief at what has happened.”
Formula One has attracted growing interest from crypto firms as the sport’s popularity booms, particularly with younger audiences and in the United States.
The sport has Crypto.com as one of its global partners, with that Singapore-based exchange also sponsoring the Aston Martin team.
This year’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix had crypto.com as title sponsor as part of a nine-year deal.
Crypto.com faced questions today around some transactions on the platform that sparked speculation and fund withdrawals.
Binance is a partner of the Renault-owned Alpine F1 team. — Reuters