Most rumors in the auto industry surface and are either confirmed or quelled. But here is one that keeps on popping up and has remained unanswered for years.

McLaren teamed up with Mercerdes-Benz back in 1995, and ever since automotive and motorsport journalists alike have been speculating that the German auto giant – which currently holds 40% equity – would buy out the British racing team. However, Mercedes officials have continuously downplayed the suggestion, and no such moves have been made after 12 years of collaboration. The party line from Stuttgart continues unchanged, however McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh is indicating otherwise. Speaking with the International Herald-Tribune (the overseas edition of The New York Times), Whitmarsh said "I would be deeply disturbed if Mercedes had no real interest in acquiring us. I think it's a tangible demonstration of their commitment to this".

If Mercedes did opt to buy out the remaining 60% (or acquire an additional 10.1% to acquire controlling interest), it would seem like odd timing. Despite competing at the front for many seasons running now, the collaborative effort of the two outfits in Formula One hasn't yielded a championship since 1999, to say nothing of the parting of company which the two have undertaken to replace the Mercedes SLR McLaren independently.

[Source: F1-Live]