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by Tim Beissmann

A restructuring of Mercedes-Benz’s Formula One team will see AMG take a staring role in the program and lead to more motorsport technology flowing down from the racetrack to the road.

From 2012, the Mercedes-Benz works Silver Arrows team will compete under the name ‘Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’.

Mercedes-AMG GmbH chairman Ola Källenius says the rebranding of the team presents a number of new opportunities for Mercedes-Benz and AMG, including its motorsport operations and road car production.

“First, to further build the sporting identity of the Mercedes AMG brand through one of the world’s most-watched and most successful sports; second, to explore and deliver technology transfer between road and track.”

Källenius said this could already be seen in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-CELL project, whose electric powertrain will be developed as a joint venture between Mercedes AMG and the Formula One engine team in Brixworth, UK, which has also been renamed ‘Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains’.

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice president Norbert Haug said the new team name was a “further strong sign of the strategic commitment Mercedes-Benz has made to Formula One”.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s 2012 contender – codenamed F1 W03 – will make its official track debut during the winter testing session in Barcelona on February 21.

The AMG brand has a strong following in Australia. Last year, Mercedes-Benz Australia sold just over 1000 AMG vehicles, putting Australia inside the top five AMG markets in the world.

Mercedes-Benz Australia’s David McCarthy said the brand was on track to deliver around 750-760 AMGs in 2011. He explained the decrease from the previous year was a result of the changeover to upgraded versions of three key models: the C 63 AMG, CLS 63 AMG and the E 63 AMG. McCarthy estimated the product changeovers cost Mercedes-Benz Australia approximately 295 AMG sales this year.

Next year will be much more stable for the brand, however, and McCarthy is confident sales will eclipse 1000 units again in 2012. The SLS AMG Roadster kicks things off in January, with Mercedes already taking a handful of orders for that car in Australia. The range will be bolstered between March and June with the arrival of the ML 63 AMG, the SLK 55 AMG and the C 63 AMG Black Series.




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