For the past several years – even more in the case of McLaren – Germany's automakers have been known around the Formula One paddock by their association with two of the sport's most established racing teams. But for the 2010 season, both Mercedes-Benz and BMW have dissolved their partnerships with McLaren and Sauber, respectively. And yet, if you look down this year's roster, you'd swear the associations still stand.
In the case of McLaren, the partnership with Mercedes has now devolved into a strict engine-supply arrangement, just the same as exists between Red Bull and Renault or Force India and Ferrari, to mention just two examples. This following Mercedes' acquisition of the Brawn GP team. McLaren, however, is now completing the re-acquisition of the 40% stake which Mercedes parent-company Daimler held in the racing outfit, thus culminating a 15-year partnership between the two companies.
Sauber's arrangement is a bit more complicated, however. The Swiss team, which was founded as an independent, was bought outright by BMW after its lackluster arrangement with the Williams team failed to amount to much. The Bavarian automaker withdrew its support at the end of last season, however, leaving Sauber twisting in the wind. The team's namesake founder has since bought the team back from BMW, and is running under Ferrari power like it once did.
The most bizarre arrangement, however, left the team's official entry labeled as BMW Sauber Ferrari, since the team was hesitant to remove BMW's name from its letterhead and risk missing out on the revenue stream to which the team is entitled from Formula One Management's commercial holdings. Sauber, however, says that the situation will change some time this season when they officially and formally drop the BMW name from its entry and off the nose of the car on which it still sits.
[Sources: ESPN and F1Technical | Image: Guillaume Baptiste/AFP/Getty]