Rumors surfaced in the German press Tuesday that minority shareholder DaimlerChrysler is close to buying the remaining 60 percent of McLaren F1 and McLaren Automotive that it does not yet own. DaimlerChrysler currently owns 40 percent, with the remaining 60 percent split equally between managing director Ron Dennis, and Saudi investor Mansour Ojjeh. The Mercedes stake in McLaren was valued at $400 million in 1999 when the automaker became part-owner.

If it happens, the deal would see DaimlerChrysler/Mercedes-Benz joining Renault, BMW, Honda, Toyota and Ferrari in having controlling interest in their respective Formula 1 teams.

The deal could also make sense if Mercedes plans to increase McLaren's road car production in future, whether for new versions of the SLR, or for a less expensive supercar to compete with the likes of the Ferrari F430.

[Sources: Reuters, GrandPrix.com]



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