• Nov 18th 2009 at 6:31PM
  • 16

The new Mercedes GP car rendered – Click above to view in high-resolution

With two manufacturers leaving the series, four new teams joining the grid and a giant game of musical chairs amongst the drivers ensuing, the off-season between the 2009 and 2010 Formula One World Championships is packing in as much action as the racing itself. But few developments have garnered as much attention as the coup orchestrated by Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, withdrawing from McLaren after fifteen years as its active partner in favor of a more conventional engine supplier role, while buying over 75% of the Brawn GP outfit to enter the sport as a full manufacturer team under the Mercedes Grand Prix banner.

The acquisition has drawn public criticism from Erich Klemm, employee representative on the Daimler board and chairman of its Corporate Works Council, who decried the move as an unnecessary cost when money is tight and other automakers are withdrawing from the series. Chairman Dieter Zetsche responded that the acquisition of the Brawn team will give the company more exposure for less cash: The deal reportedly cost the German automaker some $336 million, but its operating costs are expected to drop to about $74 million annually by 2011, analyzed as far less than what Mercedes was contributing annually to the McLaren budget.

Zetsche might have more trouble, however, explaining to the board how their star driver slipped through their fingers and defected to the team they just ditched. McLaren just announced the recruitment of Jenson Button to team up with Lewis Hamilton for a twin-champ "super team," and Rubens Barrichello is off to Williams next season, leaving the new Mercedes GP team looking for new drivers. Considering they're the reigning champions suddenly flush with cash, they shouldn't have much trouble, though.

Zetsche and Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug are reportedly keen to capitalize with an all-German line-up, fueling speculation that Michael Schumacher could rejoin Mercedes (whose junior driving program gave him his start) and Brawn (who orchestrated all seven of his world championships). Nico Rosberg is thought to already have signed on to switch places with Barrichello, while Nick Heidfeld has been linked with a switch from the departing BMW to its arch-rival Mercedes. Toyota's Timo Glock was also reportedly in the running, but the young German driver signed with newcomer Manor GP instead. Haug has indicated an announcement will come within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

[Source: F1 Live]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does anyone know of a company with a red and white color scheme so McLaren can go back to their proper colors?
        • 5 Years Ago
        They got Vodafone as their main sponsor, so it shouldn't be a problem, though McLaren already confirmed to keep their cars silver for next season.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love see MB in action
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is getting so juicy, I love it. Damn with the possibility that MS is coming back all we need now is a Senna for him to kick around...;-)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, one can hope...

        BTW, that Mercedes GP livery looks awesome! SO much better than Brawn's white and lime green...
      • 5 Years Ago
      1. Mercedes would love an all-German look. 2. Norbert Haug says imminent driver announcement will be a headline-making "surprise" (surely that can't mean Heidfeld?) 3. Schumacher loses/relinquishes F1 role with Ferrari 4. Schumacher keeps saying he retired "too early" 5. Schumacher started career as Mercedes sportscar star 6. The Schumacher/Brawn connection (Benetton, Ferrari, seven drivers championships). A picture is starting to form ........ I hope! We could be in for an epic season.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would have loved to see Kimi Raikkonen here, but it seems he has put his mind to WRC and Le Mans for next year.
      Oh and it sure seems to be easier to go WRC from F1 than other way around ;) Kimi is talks with Citroen or buying a team. I guess that's what you get with +45 million euros year earnings and next season still getting his paycheck from Ferrari while doing what ever he wants.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whats interesting is the though that you have:

      McLaren: British team, British Drivers - (although German Engines, or are they going to develop in house?)

      Mercedes: German Team, German Drivers (possibly)

      USF1 - US team, Potentially US Drivers -

      that could make for some interesting marketing! I like it already. Now if USF1 could just get to naming those drivers and letting them test....
        • 5 Years Ago
        USF1 will NOT have US drivers. There's simply not any talent here at the moment so, for now, they'll have to go with non-US drivers.

        McLaren will be using Mercedes power for the foreseeable future, despite rumors of buying BMW's engine plant (which they may not be able to afford now). Their engine deal with Mercedes runs through 2015.

        Mercedes is only "branded" German. It's still based entirely in England and run by Brits. Virtually all of their employees are British.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I find the idea of a "pure German" lineup (their words) to be rife with racial overtones. Mercedes made a mistake spending so much on this acquisition without Button and will make another PR one with only Germans at the wheel. There's just too much historical baggage in that notion and not enough talent in Rosberg and Heidfeld.

      McLaren, on the other hand, has itself a marketing dream team, if not a racing one. They're diversifying their commercial activities with the new 12C road car and will need some heavy consumer branding to make that fly. Between a British company, with two British drivers who both happen to be Champions, McLaren just scored their first victory already.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nico doesnt have blonde hair and blue...erm...eeehh...uuuhh...ohh.

        LOL at AryianGP next season.
      • 5 Years Ago
      IDK how I feel about the whole "Nationalization of Formula 1" Germans driver for Germans, etc. if this becomes a concrete characteristics of F1 for the future I would just think it would spark up even more bickering and stupid fan comments from every country.

      Don't get me wrong I personally think its a great idea to represent your country via driver and team. It should have been this way, much like the Olympics are; but let alone the racism Lewis Hamilton suffers at Brazil and Spain; nationalizing everything would just amplify issues imo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I kinda hate the suggestion that Mercedes should have German drivers, Mclaren British or USF1 US pilots, or God forbid Ferrari with Italian drivers (Fisichella and Trulli, no thanks).

      That won't be F1

      And if any one of you already forgot they tried to make a Formula based on national teams.........suffice to say it failed badly.
      And don't ask how it was called because I already forgot the name (it was only 2 yars ago)

      PS: Brown left Ferrari because he wanted to be the successor of Todt, instead Montezemolo gave the job to Domenicali, consequently Brown said "thank you very much for nothing", and left Ferrari in deep sh**
      • 5 Years Ago
      1. Mercedes wants to sell cars and "Mercedes GP" will sell more cars than McLaren.

      2. McLaren want to build and sell road going cars - and they'll be making their own engines by 2015. So, Mercedes would have invested poorly to continue to be so closely tied to a company about to compete with it in the uber-car arena.

      3. Jenson has screwed up, royally!
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X