By now we should be used to the off-season Monday announcements, some expected some not. The one that came out earlier today was definitely an unexpected one. Mercedes GP announced the signing of a long-term agreement with Petronas which will see the Malaysian national oil and gas company become the title partner to the new Silver Arrows works team.
The new team will compete in the F1 World Championship as the Mercedes GP PETRONAS Formula One Team and will carry the distinctive Petronas branding across the car and team liveries. Mercedes has already released a concept livery (above), the side view on display here – link.
This is interesting news that comes only days after reports suggesting that former Sauber and BMW Sauber title sponsors Petronas would end any involvement other in F1 other than sponsorship of the Malaysian Grand Prix. This must come as a blow to both Sauber as well as the new Malaysian Lotus F1 team that perhaps hoped to get Petronas on board.
This also means that each of the Mercedes powered front running teams will work with different oil company – McLaren with Mobil 1 and Mercedes GP with Petronas.
How would the possible signing of Michael Schumacher fit into all this ? He is apparently still under contract with Ferrari partners Shell…
The Mercedes GP 2010 car will make its track debut in its new livery at Valencia on February 1, 2010 for the first of the pre-season tests.
It has also been confirmed that Petronas will continue to be the title sponsor of the Malaysian Grand Prix.