Ineos has become the principle partner of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team for 2020, expanding its work with Mercedes beyond the existing collaborations with MBtech and Mercedes-Benz Applied Science. MBtech is providing Ineos with 200 engineers to help develop its Defender-inspired Grenadier 4x4, and while rumourville would have us believe that the tie-up will grow to include an Ineos takeover of Mercedes' F1 squad, team boss Toto Wolff told Autosport that such a scenario amounted to "nonsense". He said Mercedes was "in this for the long term", so that's that.
Wolff said in an official statement that the new partnership "will be defined by tackling great challenges together - on the race track, on water and on the [cycling] stages of the Grand Tours - and we will be aiming to raise the bar in each of them". So it's probably fair to assume there'll be no shared componentry between Ineos's future off-roader and the machinery Lewis uses to go for title number seven. Instead, it looks like an expansion of the multinational chemical company's ongoing sporting ambitions, which include partnering with winning cycling, Americas Cup and football teams in several countries.
Ineos is certainly not holding back on its spending, which suggests the firm's automotive arm is going full steam ahead with the Grenadier. Backed by company boss Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann has promised that the Grenadier "will be the most durable, reliable 4x4 that you can get". That's quite the claim, one you might think would have added to the tension with Land Rover, which has set a similarly bold standard for its all-new Defender while consistently stating that no re-run of the original car will be sanctioned.
Ineos's Land Rover-influenced Grenadier will be a permanent four-wheel drive off-roader with a low-range gear selection and lockable diffs. With much of the tech being developed via the MBtech partnership, it's clearly no small-scale operation. The company is already teamed up with global mobility technology company, Magna, a collaboration which will culminate when production of the 4x4 begins in Bridgend, South Wales next year.