Mercedes-Benz has bought a 75 per cent of the Brawn GP team and will rebrand it as Mercedes GP.
The German firm is bucking the trend of manufacturers pulling out of the sport by increasing its interests and financial commitments. It currently owns a 40 per cent stake in the McLaren team, but it will sell this back to the McLaren Group over the next two years.
Mercedes chief Dieter Zetsche said in a press conference in Germany that the firm was now ready to have its own factory team and Ross Brawn would remain in charge of the new outfit.
“Mercedes will compete in the F1 world championship next year starting with its own factory team,” he said. “The interests of Daimler are aligned therefore it will be a true Mercedes-Benz team. Ross Brawn will continue as team principal.”
The firm has taken a 75.1 per cent stake in the Brackley team, 45.1 per cent of which comes from Daimler. The rest of its stake is believed to be funded by an Abu Dhabi-based investment group. The remaining 24.9 per cent will be split between Ross Brawn, Nick Fry and other board members.
Despite taking over at Brawn, Mercedes has renewed its engine supply to McLaren until 2015. The current deal was scheduled to end in 2011, but the new deal will see Mercedes continue to supply engines and be a key strategic partner for the Woking-based outfit.
German Nico Rosberg is set to be the lead driver of Mercedes GP, with Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug keen on signing Nick Heidfeld as his team mate. Haug will also be tasked with co-ordinating the new Mercedes GP team.
World champion Jenson Button is now set to partner Lewis Hamilton at McLaren. The team has confirmed that the silver/red livery of its cars will remain unchanged.
Ron Dennis, chairman of McLaren Group, said: “This is a win-win situation, for both McLaren and Daimler.
“We’re delighted that Mercedes-Benz has committed to continue not only as an engine supplier but also as a partner of ours until 2015 – and perhaps thereafter.”