News today that Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche has plonked down a load of money to purchase a 75.1 per cent stake and naming rights to Brawn Grand Prix hardly comes as a surprise given all the speculation that has linked the two companies in recent months.

But it’s going to be hard to swallow for Mercedes-Benz’s workers who, like just about everyone in the automotive industry right now, were forced to take pay cuts of up to 10 per cent back in January and have been operating on a shortened working week for most of 2009 owing to the severely depressed state of luxury car sales in most established markets.

Mercedes takes over Brawn

When the smoke has cleared from Mercedes-Benz’s announcement that it is going F1 racing with its very own team in 2010, it will be interesting to see how Zetsche justifies the enormous expenditure of such a move given the way he has severely cut spending in just about every other areas of the German car maker’s operations, including the budget earmarked for a new range of direct injection petrol engines, and even delayed new car launches, such as the new E-class cabriolet, owing to a lack of ready cash.

It’s certainly a big turn around on the decisions taken by BMW, Honda and Toyota – all of which dumped F1 in 2009 owing to financial hardship brought about by the credit crunch and the resulting world wide recession.