Formula One powerhouse Mercedes-Benz is selling its share of McLaren and has bought a majority stake in Brawn GP.
Team principal Ross Brawn – who led Jenson Button to this year’s title and was technical director for Michael Schumacher’s seven world championships – will remain at the helm of the new team.
The takeover creates “Mercedes Grand Prix” which will operate like a Mercedes-Benz works team.
Fledgling team Brawn GP will be renamed Silver Arrow in honour of the 75th anniversary of the Benz Silver Arrow race cars.
Daimler and its major stakeholder (Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments) now own a 75.1 per cent majority of Brawn, and will sell back its 40 per cent share of McLaren by 2011.
But Mecedes will continue selling its engines to McLaren Group, possibly until 2015.
There has been no official word on driver movements but reports suggest Button is unhappy with the current offer of £8 million (AUD$14.4 million) for 2010.
Button – who voluntarily dropped his salary to £3 million this season – reportedly believes the Mercedes takeover means more money is available to him and is therefore driving a hard bargain.
But Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche is on a different page, planning to cut Mercedes’ F1 expenditure by three-quarters over the next three years.
If Button does stay on it could create the mouthwatering prospect of a dream team combining Brawn, Button and Lewis Hamilton sometime in the near future.
It is believed 24-year-old German Nico Rosberg also may have been signed to the works team for 2010, while Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is believed to be a target for 2012.
by Tim Beissmann