Mercedes takes over Brawn
|By Edd Straw||Monday, November 16th 2009, 12:09 GMT|
Mercedes-Benz has announced that it has taken over the Brawn Formula 1 team and re-named it Mercedes Grand Prix after buying a 75.1 per cent stake in the squad.
The German car giant will retain its role as McLaren's engine supplier until at least 2015, but will sell its 40 per cent stake in the squad back to the team over the next two years.
"Mercedes will compete in the F1 world championship next year starting with its own factory team," said head of Mercedes cars, Dr Dieter Zetsche.
"This is possible by the agreed acquisition of 75.1 per cent of Brawn GP, 45.1 per cent from Daimler and 30 per cent from our partner Aabar Investments. The rest will be with the current share - Ross Brawn, Nick Fry and other members. The interests of Daimler are aligned therefore it will be a true Mercedes-Benz team.
"Ross Brawn will continue to be the team principal and thereby we are maintaining his strength. Just like the engine team at Mercedes Benz High Performance Engines, the new Mercedes Benz grand prix team will be co-ordinated by Mercedes Benz Motorsport which is as everybody knows headed by Norbert Haug."
The team will be run out of Brawn's current headquarters in Brackley, rather than from a new facility.
Team principal Brawn said that he could not have imagined such a partnership happening 11 months ago when Honda announced it was pulling out of F1, leading to a winter of uncertainty for the squad that was soon to become Brawn.
"Both I and my fellow directors at Brawn GP are incredibly proud of our staff, drivers and everyone associated with our team and thank them for their commitment, outstanding teamwork and their focus on achieving results in sometimes difficult circumstances," he said.
"The senior management group will remain in place to lead our team and on behalf of everyone at Brawn GP, we are honoured to be representing such a prestigious brand as Mercedes-Benz in Formula One next year and will be working together to do our best to reward their faith in our team."
The deal means that Mercedes will compete in Formula 1 as a full factory team for the first time since Juan Manuel Fangio won the world title in 1955.
Neither driver has yet been announced for the new squad. 2009 driver Rubens Barrichello has already joined Williams for next season while Jenson Button has yet to decide on his future.
AUTOSPORT understands that Nico Rosberg will be one of Mercedes' drivers, while the company's motorsport chief Norbert Haug said on Sunday that discussions have taken place with former BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld.