When Mercedes powered Brawn GP dominated the field early on this season many people wondered why Mercedes does not place their logo somewhere on the almost all white, race winning and title challenging car. It looks like there are indeed plans to paint Brawn GP cars silver next year and stick the Mercedes logo on them. But as it is turning out Mercedes may have much bigger plans with the Brackley team.
Early this week reports emerged suggesting that Mercedes is considering buying into Brawn GP. McLaren have been downplaying the significance of such step from their Mercedes partners:
“Mercedes-Benz’s engine supply contract with McLaren is a very long-standing one – it’s in its 15th consecutive year, in fact – and it will continue to run for many years to come,” said the spokesman.
“However, we’re supportive of our partner’s plans regarding engine supply of other teams in Formula 1, and we were delighted earlier this year that a Mercedes-Benz engine supply deal was able to be done with Brawn, thereby saving that team from likely extinction.
Both McLaren and Mercedes-Benz remain extremely satisfied with our Formula 1 collaboration, which has netted three drivers’ world championships and one constructors’ world championship as well as dozens of grand prix victories.”
While both parties may be satisfied with what they have achieved together in F1 they went their separate ways outside F1. The production of their Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren road car was scheduled to stop this year. Mercedes will introduce their new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG on 15 September 2009 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The Ron Dennis led McLaren Automotive revelead photos of McLaren MP4-12C (due for production in 2011). (Click here for McLaren MP4-12C photo photogallery and technical info).
With little in common outside of F1 there may not be that much keeping these two together in F1. Well, at the moment there is, the exclusive deal between Mercedes and McLaren (although the deal obviously allows Mercedes to supply engines to teams other than McLaren). That deal will come to an end in 2011 and after that Mercedes will be free to do what they want. It does look like they are starting to lay foundations for their post McLaren only F1 era.
The talk is that 75% of the Brawn shares will be acquired by Abu Dhabi listed Aabar Investments (more on their Mercedes connection here) and transferred to Mercedes-Benz in 2012. For comparison, Mercedes only owns 40% of McLaren shares.
Not surprisingly there is already talk about the driver line up in future “Mercedes owned” Brawn GP. Well there has been only one new name mentioned so far, the same often connected with switch to McLaren – Nico Rosberg.
Interesting times ahead …