Q & A with Mercedes GP chiefs

Q: Can you tell us if the look and feel of the Brawn will change to be Silver Arrows next year?

Q & A with Mercedes GP chiefs

Dieter Zetsch: The answer is yes. Without any detail so far of how this will look, we are on the way to develop that, but it will clearly be Silver Arrows.

Q: Could you comment on driver line-up?

DZ: Not yet, we are working diligently on that topic but there is no final decision there therefore I cannot comment on it.

Q: Will you continue to supply Mercedes engines next season to McLaren?

DZ: Yes, we will and not only next season but we agreed that we will do that ultimately - of course, for a price - to 2015.

Q: You mentioned that McLaren has agreed to buy out the shareholding - is there any other penalty clause that you have to honour?

DZ: There is no penalty whatsoever. There are contractual obligations that we will of course fulfil, but there is no penalty.

Q: There has been a lot of speculation that the new Mercedes team may field two German drivers next season?

DZ: What we would like to see would be the best drivers in the two seats. We certainly would not be opposed if one were German, but that is not a pre requisite which we would give the team.

Norbert Haug: I read some speculation and I understand this because we could not give this information earlier. But this will be an international team for Mercedes-Benz is a global player. If you look back in our history we have very often been criticised for not having a German driver, so we were always open and we took the driver decision always together with McLaren. This will be the same in the future. We want to have the best ones and we definitely do not want to have the pure German team - it's an international Silver Arrows team and we want to have the best drivers in the car.

Q: It seems to be general knowledge that Nico Rosberg has already been hired and that because you've hired him you might be running scared of taking on Jenson Button?

DZ: First of all, we have just announced that we will acquire a share in the Brawn team so we haven't done anything so far. Whatever could have been done would have been done by Ross Brawn, so with that I would like to leave the speculation of drivers.

Q Would you not want to have Jenson Button in the team next year?

NH: We are in negotiations but all the accurate information is around and we are talking. That's why we are not able to announcement driver line-up. We cannot comment on the drivers.

Q: Has Ross Brawn given you a commitment for a certain number of years that he will stay in change?

DZ: Yes, he has made a certain commitment and that was very valuable to us.

Q: Can you put a figure on how much this is costing Daimler?

DZ: No.

Q: What about commercial sponsors?
DZ:
The only thing we can say is that a number of discussions are underway which are promising.

Q: Ross Brawn is committed - will Nick Fry remain in his current role?

DZ: Without going through the entire team in general I think the team has proved that it can be very competitive and successful, so from a shareholders perspective, there's no reason to change a winning team.

Will the team remain in the UK?

DZ: Yes. That is obviously a great advantage because Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines are close neighbours and this is logistically highly welcome.

You said there is no reason to change a winning team and Jenson Button is a key element as a winning driver. There's confusion as to why someone is asking for a salary that is smaller than some world champions are getting hasn't been snapped up?

DZ: It seems that you have more information than I do.

To continue with that, the negotiations between Button and Brawn have been with Ross, but now Mercedes is in charge that presumably changes the financial landscape - will that mean you take over the negotiations?

DZ: No. It's very similar to what we used to have in our partnership before. Very clearly, Ross Brawn is the team principal he runs the team together with his management team. I am involved as the responsible guy in Mercedes Motorsport, but he is the boss of the team and we have to report to Stuttgart so we are co-ordinated. So in reality if you have discussions and you are a racer you will not find most of the time five different names on the list, you will find two or three so you come to agreement. Very clearly Ross Brawn is the team principal, we are co-ordinated and that's it.

Norbert, when will you be able to name your drivers?

NH: I would rather hope next week, but don't kill me if it [takes] a couple of weeks longer.

What are the strategic objectives?

DZ: First of all the brand of motor racing goes back to motor racing. You do motor racing in order to promote your brand in the world market - there's no other platform in sport - or perhaps even beyond - with such a strong presence around the globe and in emerging markets. With the history of Mercedes we have the best opportunity to use that programme for the improvement of our brand.

You mentioned McLaren branching into road cars as being part of the reason - were the big scandals that the team was involved in a factor?

DZ: We are looking forward. We gave you the clear information, we had a very successful common history with four championships and many victories and now we continue as engine partner.

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